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Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur'an 

by Jalaluddin Suyuti 

English Translation by Muneer Fareed 


The work before you, some twenty chapters of excerpts from Jalal '1-Din '1-Suyuti's 'l-Itqan fi 
^Ulum al-Qur'an, is a translation of what this celebrated polymath considered indispensable 
linguistic and stylistic tools for comprehending the meanings of the Koran. Whilst the 
translation itself is to my knowledge unprecedented, the use of Itqan material as such in modern 
studies of the Koran is not, the most significant being that of Theodore Noldeke's still 
invaluable, Geschichte des Qoran} And whilst the Itqan is rightly described both as an 
invaluable "introduction to the critical study of the Koran" 2 , as well as "a monumental synthesis 
of the quranic sciences" 3 its greater value would seem to lie in the as yet tledgling area of higher 
critical studies of the Koran. Arkoun might well have had just this in mind when he complained 
of an "epistemological myopia" common to both western as well as Islamic scholars who 
hesitate in applying modern linguistic tools such as narrative analysis or semiology to the 
Koran. 4 To this category, I would suggest, belong those traditionalists, for whom Koranic 
studies ventures not beyond the search for even greater literary clarity and thematic coherence in 
the Koran; this includes those Arabists, who — when not involved in some translation — 
perpetuate their convention of trying to isolate and define Islamic society, or the Arab mind, or 

1 Theodor Noldeke Geschichte des Qorans (Hildesheim, 1961) 3 vols. This is particularly true of the second half of 
the first volume which rearranges the chapters chronologically, the second volume in its entirety, which examines 
the historicity of the collected material itself , and much of the third volume, which examines its variant readings, its 
paleography, and its aesthetics. 

2 Nicholson, Reynold, A Literary History ofthe Arabs New Delhi 2004. p.45 

3 McAuliffe, Jane Dammen p.6 Some have outlined both its strengths as well as its weaknesses: Arthur Jeffrey, 
Materials for the History of the Text of the Koran in The Koran: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies ed. Colin 
Turner New York 2004. s' .156for instance, writing on the textual history of the Koran calls the Itqan a "great 
compendium of Muslim Koranic Sciences" but one that nonetheless, contains little information on textual history. 
Jeffrey, Arthur Materials for the History of the Text of the Koran in The Koran: Critical Concepts in Islamic 
Studies ed. Colin Turner New York 2004. .156 

4 Mohammed Arkoun Lecture du Coran (L'Islam d'hier etd'aujourd'hui) xxxiii, 175 pp. Paris, 1982. Also see, 
Pour une critique de la raison islamique, Paris, 1984 


the oriental temperament; and of late, it has come to include revisionists, who, having cast grave 
doubts on the authenticity of the traditional texts and even on the canonization of the Koran itself 
then turn around and selectively use those very texts to make their point! 
Inasmuch as western studies of the Koran differ in their approach to traditional source materials, 
and in the methodologies they each bring to bear on the study of such materials, they nonetheless 
share one feature which sets them apart from traditional approaches: they all ask questions which 
go beyond the Koran itself to the very Sitz im Leben of the faith itself. So, in seeking answers to 
questions about the origins of the sacred text, for instance, they implicitly ask not just when 
canonization occurred, or how outside religious strains are entwined in the Koranic narrative, 
but also which milieu most influenced its overall message. Muslim scholars accept as their 
working principle the Koran's ontological claims whereas non Muslims reject the claim itself as 
being outside the purview of academic inquiry. For secular academics this poses a dilemma 
because their only bridge to Islam's past is through material collected by early Muslim scholars 
who made no distinction between material that was purely historical and that which was salvific. 
The historiographical material of traditional Muslim scholarship has served as source material 
for both the standard Muslim narrative as well as the bulk of secular western studies on Islam 
and Muslims but with differences in approach. For traditional Islamic research, in their details 
the six authentic works on apostolic traditions (the sihah sitta) are authentic and more than 
adequate; for what they lack in historiographical rigor is more than provided by the 
comparatively less authentic historical works of Ibn Ishaq (d. 767 c.e.) and Tabari. As for 
western historians, for whom such material was largely evidentiary, what the texts said about the 
milieu in which early Islam developed was more important than the scrutiny to which their 
transmission was put. More important to them, therefore, were questions that asked, to what 

extent did Muhammad borrow Judeo-Christian leitmotifs, biblical personalities and mosaic rites 
and rituals? The only time alternate sources to Tabari were given serious consideration was 
when they differed substantively from the Biblical sources. 5 

In the 19 th century Abraham Geiger 6 and Julius Wellhausen 7 tried to show that much of the 
Koran was actually borrowed, in the case of Geiger from rabbinic literature and in the case of 
Wellhausen, from Christian. This search for Islam's origins in biblical literature was continued 
in the 20 th century by Charles Torrey and Richard Bell. Montgomery Watt was one of the first to 
break from this tradition with his focus on the sociological and ideological backdrop of 7 th 
century Arabia as the impetus for Muhammad's teachings. 8 It was Watt who first suggested 
that the very demand ior luxury goods in areas north and south of Mecca that so enriched its 
economy also plunged its citizens into a spiritual and moral crisis that helped launch 
Mohammed's monotheistic assault on idol worship. 9 But Watt came in for much criticism by 
Patricia Crone, following John Wansbrough, for hewing too closely to the traditional sources if 
not to their narrative, and for trying "to say nothing that would be the rejection of any of the 

5 So for example, Richard Bell in his The Origin ofIslam in its Christian Environment London 1926, argues, 
without evidence, I might add, that the sources of the Koran, and by extension, those of Islam, were the many 
Christians who lived in Mecca. C.C. Torrey in his The Jewish Foundations ofIslam New York 1933, argues in 
similar vein — and with even less evidence — that the Koran's antecedents lie in Judaism, not Christianity. Both 
Montgomery Watt in Muhammad in Mecca, Oxford 1953, as well as Bell in his The Origins ofIslam concede 
however, that no substantial Jewish or Christian population dwelled in Mecca during the formative period of Islam. 

6 Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgennomen (Bonn, 1833)was translated by F. Young as Judaism and 
Islam (1896) was actually part of Geiger's bigger project, that of showing Judaism's influence on both Christianity 
and Islam 

7 Reste Arabischen Heidentums (Berlin, 1887). For almost two decades Wellhausen preoccupied himself with 
reconstructing early Islamic history. In addition to a translation of al-Waqidi's Maghazi, he also wrote works on 
early Arabic poetry, Arab paganism and the early political conflicts in Islam. 

8 Watt in Muhammad, Prophet and Statesman, Oxford 1961, p. 192, explains his approach in the following way: 
"Though I have held that material factors created the situation in which Islam was born, I have also maintained that 
the social malaise they produce does not become a social movement until it has ideas to focus it." 

9 See, in this regard, Watt's entry, "Makka," in Encyclopedia ofIslam, VI, pp. 145-6. Patricia Crone however, failed 
to find evidence of trade in the luxury goods that Watt speaks of. John Jandora takes issue with the methodology of 
both Watt and Crone. The economic growth did take place, he suggests. During the period 572 c.e. to 616 war 
engulfed Mecca's neighbors to the north and their demand for leather and other animal by products turned Mecca 
into a conduit through which products passed from Africa to the fertile crescent. 


fundamental doctrines of Islam". 10 Ever since the publication of Wansbrough's four articles that 
together comprise his Quranic Studies a small but not insignificant cadre of scholars have tried 
to develop alternate theories to the origins of Islam. For such scholars the origins of Islam, the 
canonization of its holy book, and the authentication of its apostolic traditions lie somewhere 
between the 7 th and the 9 th centuries of the common era. 

To summarize, the most significant bone of contention in all of the foregoing approaches, 
therefore, is the historiographical. For traditional Muslim scholarship, only the factual minutiae 
of the traditional accounts are open to question; for most western scholars, the problem lies in 
traditional historical literature not being distinguishable from salvation literature; and for the 
radical revisionists such as Wansbrough, Crone, etal., there is, in addition to the questionable 
authenticity of the historical logia, the greater problem pertaining to the very methods, theories, 
and principles used by modern historians. But in all such efforts the material found in the Itqan, 
if its almost ubiquitous appearance in so many texts is anything to go by, has proven both 
reliable and indispensable to the study of the Koran. All serious ef forts at either plumbing the 
traditional depths of Muslim scholarship even deeper, or those given to probing alternate 
explanations further, have shown need f or the material that Suyuti painstakingly put together. 
When complete, therefore, the translated Itqan will undoubtedly allow a far broader cross section 
of modern scholarship to engage the source material in this very important debate directly and 

As for the sections chosen here, they reiterate the somewhat neglected fact that whilst theological 
reservations may have prevented comment on God's "word" (kalam Allah) the text's many 

10 Montgomery Watt Muhammad in Mecca Oxford 1953. p. x. For Patricia Crones critique of the 'trade' argument 

to explain the genesis of Islam see: Meccan Trade and the Rise ofIslam Princeton, 1988. 


linguistic and stylistic oddities made substantial editing of the Koran inevitable, even for early 

Muslims. Some such oddities Bell and Watt have described thus: 

"abrupt changes of rhyme; repetition of the same rhyme word or rhyme phrase in adjoining 
verses; the intrusion of an extraneous subject into a passage otherwise homogenous; a differing 
treatment of the same subject in neighboring verses, often with repetition of words and phrases; 
breaks in grammatical construction which raise difficulties in exegesis; abrupt changes in length 
of verse; sudden changes of the dramatic situation, with changes of pronoun from singular to 
plural, from second to third, and so on; the juxtaposition of apparently contrary statements; the 
juxtaposition of passages of different dates. . . " n 

To this, one may add: a lack of sequence or chronology in the arrangement of the chapters; a lack 

of uniformity of the chapters in order or content; virtual duplications of entire passages with 

minor lexical changes; a lack of coherence and uniformity of its legal precepts, and a literary 

style that is preponderantly allusive and referential rather than expository. But whilst such lexical 

lacunae, such stylistic oddities may well have disturbed Arthur Jeffrey's "sense of coherence' 12 , 

or provided incontrovertible need for revision of its contents for Watt, and Bell, for the early 

exegetes all of this was unmistakable evidence of that very inimitability which so exemplified its 

divine origins. 13 But these exegetes, their theological persuasions notwithstanding, still faced the 

onerous task of streamlining such oddities as to make the Koran's performative and juridical 

injunctions practicable to a community, which to quote Arkoun, was required "to consume the 

Qur'an in their daily lives" 14 

11 A. Jeffery Materials for the History ofthe Text ofthe Quran (Leiden, 1937) p. 1. 

12 A. Rippin "Reading the Qur'an with Richard Bell" Journal ofthe American Oriental Society, vol. 112, no. 4 
(1992) p.646. R. Bell and W.M. Watt Introduction to the Qur'an (Edinburgh, 1970) It must be said that this charge 
of linguistic incoherence is not new: T-Kindi writing in the 9' century, called the history therein, jumbled and 
incomprehensible. This he too, argued was evidence that the Koran is the product of not one, divine source, but of 
many human minds. 

13 Not everyone saw this as peculiar to the Koran however. G.E. von Grunebaum for example, argued in "The 
Spirit of Islam as seen in its Literature" studia Islamica no.l, 1953, p.102, that Arabic literature, in general, pays 
more attention "to the individual verse, paragraph, at the expense of the consistent lay-out of the whole." The Arab 
literati, he goes on to say. "demonstrated that the value of a poem to them would depend on the perfection of its 
individual lines." 

14 M. Arkoun p.41 


To do so however, they had to do the following: one, to start viewing the sacred text as literary 
text rather than as liturgy; two, to seamlessly append their human deliberations side by side 
with the divine text so as to make the former as dogmatically acceptable, almost, as the latter; 
and three, to subtly extend the sanctity ascribed to the Koran itself, to these quite human 
interpretations. The solution which evolved gradually to become a veritable 'science of 
interpretation' or ^ilm 'l-tafsir was rather unique in that it called, not for a recalibrated text 
following theme or chronology, as such, but for the composition of a set of hermeneutical tools 
which, together would remain clearly subordinate to the letter of the text, whilst becoming at the 
same time indispensable to its practical application. The tools of tafsir helped the exegete 
undertake the very thematic rearrangements, chronological sequencing, and stylistic editing that 
modern scholarship has so strongly advocated and which Muslim scholarship has equally 
strongly resisted. An excellent example in this regard is 2:158: "Behold, (the hills in Mecca) '1- 
Safa and '1-Marwa are of the symbols of God; and thus, one who performs the hajj of the House 
or the ^umrah would do no wrong in circling them". Like many other verses in the Koran that 
feature prominently in ritual or dogma this one is terse to the point of inscrutability. For instance, 
those outside Mecca would find it impossible to determine the objects to which the names 
referred, whether such circling is obligatory or optional, and of course the point of the matter 
itself ! In other words, the lack of context and subtext to this verse made it a prime candidate for 
textual emendation; and yet no early exegete whether affiliated to the Sunni, the Shiite or any 
other sect even suggested that the text itself be emended to better present its purport. Instead of 
tampering with the text proper exegetes worked around it, imputing juridical glosses to the first 
part of the verse only, deeming it the cause cĕlĕbre of the walking between the two hills ritual of 
the hajj; and to the second they imputed a historical gloss, claiming that it explained how an 

overtly pagan ritual was incorporated into the hajj ritual. James Bellamy, in his article 
suggesting emendations to what he considers textual errors in the Koran, cites various examples 
of early Muslim scholarship conceding his kind of errors but ruling out categorically 
emendations to the sacred text. We have for example, the case of ^Ali, the fourth caliph, refusing 
to change the word talh (bananas) in 56:29 for taF (blossoms) even though he believed a scribal 
error had occurred. 15 Other prominent scholars of the first Islamic generation made similar 
comments about scribal errors in the text but all steered clear of emendations. This in my 
opinion, was because the text by then had indeed, already been canonized, and this text based on 
the ^Uthmanic codex came to be accepted as the inerrant word of God. 16 

This early transformation of sacred scripture to canon had the consequence of not just putting the 
sacred text beyond question but also beyond reach; henceforth, guidance would have to be 
sought in local practices or the ever burgeoning apostolic traditions. The absence of the Koran 
from the legislative process of the early legists and theologians was underscored by both Schacht 
and Wensinck, in their respective studies of the early development of Islamic law and Muslim 
Creed. And this was the evidence that Wansbrough cited, amongst others, to support his own 
theory of canonization occurring over "more than a single generation". 17 1 would suggest, 
however, that contra Wansbrough, it was not the absence of a canonized text that explains the 
lack of reference to the Koran in early Muslim thinking but rather its canonized presence in the 

15 James Bellamy: "Some Proposed Emendations to the Text of the Qur'an" in Journal ofthe American Oriental 
Society vol.H3, no.4, (Oct. 1993) Pp. 562-563. Also see Ignaz Goldziher: Die Richtungen der islamische 
Koranauslegung Leiden, 1952. 

16 According to Muslim tradition canonization occurred when Gabriel who for twenty three served as the angel of 
revelation made one final review which then established the present text as the ipsissima verba of God. For more on 
the process of revelation becoming canon see: Suyuti, al-Itqan I, 164-83. 

17 John Wansbrough Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation New York, 2004. P. 44. For 
Schacht's views on the development of Islamic Law see: Josef Schacht: The Origins of Muhammadan 
Jurisprudence Oxford, 1950. For the development of the Islamic creed, see: Jan Wensinck The Muslim Creed, Its 
Genesis and Historical Development New York 1965 


way described by Watt and Bell, that all but precluded rererence to its verses in law and 

Assuming the aforementioned is more accurate an explanation for the absence of scripture from 
early legal discourse, the traditional account of how scriptural logia transformed into 
standardized codex, thence to canonized text, and thence to the explicative process known as 
tafsir could be said to at least follow the broad strokes of the traditional narrative. 18 This may 
well explain why modern scholarship still clings to the Koran being revealed to Muhammad over 
a period of twenty three years until his death in 632 ce.; of Abu Bakr his successor, 
commissioning the first authorized written copy thereof; of this copy being vouchsafed to his 
successor, "Umar, and then to his daughter, Hafsa; and finally, of ^Uthman, the third caliph, 
authorizing the Hafsa codex to be copied and widely distributed as the only official version of 
the Koran. 

To pursue the traditional account, the period that followed has been described as one in which all 
authority was being contested, with intellectual giants like Ja x far al-Sadiq, the Shiite imam, 
claiming sole authority not just over Muslim society, but also over the interpretation of the holy 
writ — and in particular, its allegorical verses. Because no explicit texts legitimized Shiite claims 
to leadership Ja x far was forced to rely heavily on the interpretive latitude the allegorical verses 
offered to make just such claims. Thus: the signs of God refer to the imams; the Straight Path is 
that which the Imams followed; and the Light of God refers 'not just to the imams but also their 
quasi-divine character". 19 Sunnis meanwhile, with de facto political authority, had little need for 
allegorical interpretations; instead, they looked to the Koran to hold on to power gained 

18 Wansbrough, not unexpectedly, disagrees, arguing instead that "Quranic exegesis. . is not likely to have been 
articulated before the third/ninth century. See his "Majaz al-Qur'an: Periphrastic Exegesis" in Bulletin ofthe School 
ofAfrican and Oriental Studies No.2, 1970, p.247 

militarily, and to use the authority of the sacred text to consolidate such ill gained authority or to 

regulate civil society in ways that privileged their respective constituencies over those of their 

opponents. In the case of Sunni scholars therefore, the point of entry into exegesis was language, 

not allegory, but interestingly enough, even there, those scholars who initially did no more than 

clarify the obscurities of the sacred text ultimately graduated to become its de facto gatekeepers; 

so, as in some other religions, so too in Sunni Islam, philology and linguistics not only 

privileged the clergy over the laity, but also helped circumvent theological divides that otherwise 

separated the inerrant divine word from fallible exegetical opinion. 20 

To avoid the pitfalls of literalism Sunni hermeneutics developed into a complex system of 

caveats, that required, for instance, that texts be interpreted in light of varying contexts 

(maqam), and that laws derived as such, include not just one, but all verses pertaining to any 

given topic. {'l-Qur x an yafissuru ba^duhu ba^dan). 21 The need for context is succinctly 

explained by '1-Khatib '1-Qazwini, the celebrated linguist, as follows: 

That context which demands the definite, the generalization, or the advancement of parts of a 
discourse, or the inclusion (of particular words) differs from that context which demands the 
indefinite specification, the postponement or the omission. Also, the context of separation differs 
from that of joining; the situation that requires brevity differs from that which requires prolixity. 
And discourse with an intelligent person differs from discourse with an obtuse one. 22 

19 Bruce Lawrence The Qur'an: A Biography New York, 2006 p. 81. 

20 Valentin Voloshinov Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (Cambridge, 1986). The standard work for the 
textual history of the Koran remains Theodor Noldeke and Freidrich Schwally Geschichte des Qorans (Hildesheim, 
1961) For an overview of the genesis of philological exegesis see Claude Gilliot "The Beginnings of Qur'anic 
Exegesis" in Andrew Rippin ed. The Qur'an: Formative interpretation (ALdershot, 1999) pp.1-27. The precursor to 
the formal exegesis of the Koran was the development of the Arabic language, its stylistics and its lexicography. In 
this regard see: Johannn Fuck Arabiya: Untersuchungen zur arabischen Sprach-und Stilgeschichte. (Berlin: 1950) 
On the development of Arabic orthography see: Khalil Semaan Linguistics in the Middle Ages: Phonetic Studies in 
Early Islam (Ledien, 1968) 

21 See M. A.S. Abdel Haleem "Contextg and Intemal Relationships: Keys to Quranic Exegesis. A Study of Surat '1- 
Rahman (QUran chapter 55)" in Approaches to the Qur'an G.R. Hawting and Abdul-KAder Shareef eds. (London, 
1993) pp. 71-99 

22 Muhammad b. Abd T-Rahman T-Qazwini Sharh 'l-Talkhis (Damascus, 1970) p. 14 


This was followed by the publication of works such as those of al-Jurjani (d. 474) which Aziz '1- 
Azmeh, describes as "one of the most sustained, refined, rigorous and durable attempts to 
construct a theory of the production of meaning in discourse analysis in any language and at any 
time." 23 Jurjani's was an incredibly complex understanding of rhetoric, eloquence, and tropes, 
which says Edward Said. "seem startlingly modern but which in fact are deeply rooted in the 
Koran." 24 These hermeneutical tools developed slowly mainly because of the general aversion in 
early Islam to commentaries on the Koran. 25 But the spread of the faith to the more sophisticated 
north and its entanglement with older and more complex religious systems such as Judaism, 
Christianity, and Zoroastrianism put enormous pressure on the relatively straightforward dogma 
of the Arabian peninsula to nuance its theological underpinnings. Add to that the shifting 
demographics within Islam itself, the addition of converts from the aforementioned religions, and 
the infusion of their disparate social customs into Arab social practice and the demand for 
scriptural recalibration becomes unavoidable. Later, '1-Shatibi would further refine this rule by 
stressing the need to know, not just physical contexts, or social conditions, but also what he 
termed special conditions because, as he put it, "the same statement can be understood in 
different ways in relation to two different addressees or more." 26 And it was none other than the 
celebrated polemicist Ibn Taymiyah himself, who reemphasized the rule to consider all verses for 
legislative purposes for: "what is given briefly in one place is expanded in another." 27 Taken 
together, the exegetical devices and the accompanying rules that Jurjani and others compiled did 

23 Aziz T-*Azmeh Arabic Thought and Islamic Societies (London, 1986) p. 120. And Margaret Larkin in The 
Theology of Meaning: Abd 'l-Qahir '1-Jurjani's Theory of Discourse (New Haven, 1995) clearly shows how the 
doctrine of inimitability influenced the linguistic and rhetorical elements of the Arabic language. 

24 E. W. Said: "Living in Arabic" Raritan 21 no.4 pp. 220-36 Spring 2002 

25 For a history and analysis of the exegetical devices see: Herbert Berg The Development ofExegesis in Early 
Islam: The Authenticity ofMuslim Literature from the Formative Period (London, 2000) 

26 Abu Ishaq '1-Shatibi, 'l-Muwafaqat fi Ususl 'l-Ahkam (Cairo, 141h) p.202 

27 Ahmed, Ibn Taymiyah muqaddimat fi Usul 'l-Tafsir (Kuwait, 1971) p. 93. 

the following: set limits on the probative value of the literal text itself, gave sacerdotal authority 
to exegetical interpretations, but also established an abiding distinction between the infallible 
divine text, and its fallible, human interpretations — the former may not be touched or retouched 
through textual redaction whereas the latter is the only determinant of sacred meaning. 
For a millennium almost, hermeneutical tools randomly increased in size and sophistication, kept 
in tight tandem between the need to expand the immanence of the text to cover the vagaries of 
human life but without compromising its ontological status. and to maintain its driven primarily 
by the governed the interpretive process, unchallenged. This delicately crafted balance between 
religious authority and Sacred text changed after colonialism however, when ^ulama authority 
was challenged by new power brokers, the military, the ruling western educated elite, and the 
Islamic Movement, among them. All three, in particular, saw need for a new approach to the 
text, with the military and the ruling elite hoping thereby, to create a secular civil society imbued 
with only so much Islam as to define collective identity, and the fundamentalists hoping, more 
optimistically, for an Islam with pervasive influence over both public policy and private opinion. 
The ruling elite, together with the military, wielded control over those societal institutions such 
as law and education which critics charged had also been thoroughly colonized, and in whose 
reaction in fact the genesis of movements such as the Jamate Islami in South Asia and the '1- 
Ikhwan '1-Muslimun in Egypt may be traced. But whilst liberals and secularists controlled 
government, education and the judiciary of the new nation states, the individual Muslim in his 
private capacity turned once again to the ^ulama and the mystics for moral and spiritual 
guidance. The latter may well have lost the pecuniary largess they so enjoyed under the caliphs 
and sultans of imperial Islam, but thanks to the colonial experience, they gained instead, a 
newfound credibility for opposing colonialism in places, or for blocking what Richard Bulliet 


calls the "emerging tyranny" 28 of those in power hell bent on "eviscerating the oppositional 
potential represented by the sharia and the ^ulama." 29 And the great irony of that moment in 
Koranic hermeneutics is the fact that of the two competing factions it was the ruling elite and the 
Islamic Movement rather than the tradtitional ^ulama who turned exclusively to the Koran for 
validation. And with good reason: to seek validation in any other sphere of Islamic law would 
require a certain deference to the very "ulama. whose public prestige is what impeded total elitist 
control of Muslim society in the first place! Outright rejection of the ^ulama and of their legal 
authority as was done in Turkey, however, would certainly have earned the ire of even those 
otherwise not indisposed to such changes. 30 Instead, a process of scriptural attenuation was 
adopted in favor of the Koran and against the coded legal opinions, the fatawa , of the 'ulama 
and more importantly, against apostolic traditions (hadith) the primary evidentiary source for 
traditional authority. Reliance on these sources was reduced gradually until only the Koran 
remained as the sole source of guidance to Muslim society. Surprisingly, help arrived from 
within, from Muhammad ^Abduh in Egypt, for instance, and his acolytes elsewhere, who for 
quite different reasons more effectively undermined traditional authority (taalid) by referring to 
it disparagingly as blind imitation, or irrational obeisance. The critics of taalid said, for instance, 
that, "it is better to follow a beast than an imitator; and the opinion of the scholars and the 

28 In The Case for the Islamo-Christian Civilization (New York, 2004) Bulliet argues that the "Ulama were pivotal 
in opposing tyranny. As examples, he brings attention to: the 1891-93 ulama led revolt known as the Iranian 
Tobacco Rebellion; Sharit Hussain's leadership of the Arab rebellion against Ottoman tyranny; The Mahdi's 
opposition to the Anglo-Egyptian control over the Sudan; and ShamiPs resistance to Russian expansion in the 

29 Ibid., 73 

30 Some in fact, trace the beginnings of the end of "ulama scriptural authority to the 

Ottomanization of Islamic law. Whilst the codification of Islamic law in 1839 may well have been to redefine 
Ottoman identity, it at the same time took authority away from the "ulama and vested it in the state legislature. 
Roger Owen State, Power and Politics in the Making ofthe Middle East 2 nd edition, (London, 2000) has on the 
other hand, stressed the army's role in establishing social institutions and in pushing these newly independent states 
into the modern world. 

devotees, because they are unsubstantiated and mimetic, are often contradictory." 31 Or worse 
still, that, "Imitating religious leaders who pretentiously offer their views as authentic true 
religion is tantamount to obeying tyrants; both are idolatrous." 32 The alternative to taqlid was 
ijtihad or individual interpretations based solely on selective reference to the Koran: the new 
elite's ijtihad was to arm itself with the Arabic text alone, or with an annotated translation of the 
original, and to use that against tradition, but ironically also against each other, to legitimize 
agendas that were clearly at odds with each other — some were liberal, others conservative, and 
others still, militant. 33 The principles of tafsir were dispensed with either because of their 
irrelevance or because of their contlict with modern agendas. In sum therefore, whilst the Koran 
has since the beginnings of Islam been considered no less than the very ipsissima verba of God 
its interpretation and application was anything but literal. To early exegetes already, it was 
patently clear that the word of God was in dire need of the mind of man to make comprehensible 
the Koran's disparate ideas. And yet this vital area of Koranic studies remains largely ignored in 
contemporary academic circles. 

31 x Abd T-Qadir '1-Jaza'iri Dhikra '1-Aqil wa tanbih 'l-Ghafil (Beirut, 1966) p.34. 

32 Muhammad NaTni Tanbih 'l-Ummat wa Tanzih 'l-Millat Ya Hukumat az Nazr-e-Islam (Tehran 1960) 

33 Khaled Abou el-Fadl in his The Authoritative and the Authoritarian in Islamic Discourse: A Contemporary Case 
Study (Austin 1997) brings attention to the legal power struggle this access to the text has now initiated. Whilst the 
thrust of his arguments is valid, it is weakened I believe by its narrow focus on fundamentalist abuse of the Koran 
only, whereas the actual problem is one of interpretive abuse, both liberal and fundamentalist. Textual 
reductionism is often undertaken by liberals such Asma Barlas in Believing Women in Islam: Unreading 
Patriarchal Interpretations ofthe Qur'an (Austin, Texas, University of Texas Press, 2001) who strive to preserve 
the status of the Koran. This however, is countered by critics of the Koran itself such as Neelam Hussain, 'Women 
as Objects and Women as Subjects within Fundamentalist Discourse.' In Locating the Self: Perspectives on Women 
and Multiple identities eds. Nighat Khan, Rubina Saigol and Afiya Zia. (Lahore: ASR, 1994) and Fatima Mernissi, 
Women's Rebellion and Islamic Memory (London: Zed. 1996) who argue that it is indeed Islam's sacred document 
that privileges men over women, and thus entrenches patriarchy and the abuse of women on theological grounds. 
For creative re-readings of clearly patriarchal verses such as 2:228 which puts husbands one notch above wives, see 
Riffat Hassan, 'An Islamic Perspective.' In Sexuality: A Reader ed. Karen Lebacqz (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 
1999) and Amina Wadud. Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective (Oxford: 
University Press, 1999). For an overview of the rights women in early Islam enjoyed and subsequently lost, see: 
Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots ofModern Debate (New Haven: Yale University 
Press, 1992) 


And this may well be because the study of the Koran is still driven by the trajectory if not the 
sentiment of early inter faith rivalries. To early Christians looking to curb the growth of Islam at 
Christianity's expense, the focus had to be on the Koran: given Muslim belief in its inerrancy, 
any subversion thereof, they believed, would at the very least, staunch Christian conversions to 
Islam. 34 Peter, the Abbott of Cluny, seems to have been driven by this very fervor when he 
commissioned Robertus Ketenensis, in 1143 c.e.. to translate the Koran into Latin 35 ; the same 
spirit prompted Andre du Ryer's French translation of 1647, as well as Savary's better known 
translation which appeared later, in 1783. 36 Renewed interest in the Koran today stems, not from 
religious polemics but rather from civic proximity, from the fact that the sound of the Koran now 
resonates all the way from the Banlieue's of Paris to the apartment complexes of Buffalo, New 
York. For the millions of Muslims who now call Western Europe and the United States home 
their religion and culture has as much right to be in their adopted homelands as does any other; 
for their uneasy neighbors, on the other hand, that right is undermining the very principles of 
western civilization. And for historian Paul Johnson, the problem lies squarely with the Koran 
and its interpretation: Muslim animosity to Jews, he thinks, finds inspiration in the verse: 
"Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans" (5:85); and 
their propensity to violence, in another verse, 9:5: "Then fight and slay the pagans wherever 

34 Thus, the introductory volume to Maracci's Latin translation-upon which George Sale's English translation is 
based-is revealingly titled: A Refutation ofthe Koran. 

35 For more on this prodigious translators life and contributions see: Charles Burnett "A Group of Arabic Latin 
Translators Working in northern Spain in the Mid 12' Century" in Journal ofthe Royal Asiatic Society (1977) 

pp. 62-70; and Marie Therese d'Alverny, "Translators and Translations" in Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth 
Century ed. Robert Benson and Giles Constable Cambridge, 1982. pp. 449. 

36 The Koran was not all that Peter commissioned: he had fragments of Muhammad's biography along with his 
teachings translated as well; together these formed what came to be known as the Corpus Toletantum. In time, 
Martin Luther himself had this collection sent to Basle, to be published and disseminated to those engaged in 
refuting Muslim belief and dogma. The "Basle Koran" as the translation came to be known, actually comprised of 
three separate sections: the first section was dedicated wholly to the Corpus Toletantum, the second, to refutations 
penned by Nicolas Cusanus, Ricoldo da Monte Croce, and others, and the third to the history of the Saracens and the 

you find them. And seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them, in every strategem of 
war. . .until they embrace Islam." (9:5) 37 Nor can such strictures be glossed over through 
scriptural interpretation, he believes, because Islam, unlike other faiths, has not gone beyond 
scriptural literalism. "Unlike Christianity" he says, "which, since the Reformation and Counter 
Reformation, has continually updated itself and adapted to changed conditions, and unlike 
Judaism, which has experienced what is called the 18 l -century Jewish enlightenment, Islam 
remains a religion of the Dark Ages. The 7 th -century Koran is still taught as the immutable word 
of God, any teaching of which is literally true." 38 

This charge of scriptural literalism against the Koran is widespread even though its 
origins lie not with Islam but with European Christianity. When Martin Luther made his sola 
scriptura (scripture alone) argument against the Pope's claims to infallibility, he presented 
biblical literalism as a substitute to both papal authority as well as church councils. 39 Whilst this 
temporarily empowered Protestants against papal authority and gave their religious dicta an 
equal sense of infallibility, in time it attenuated the church's historical role of interpreting 
scripture in accordance with changed circumstances. And later, in reaction to the scientific 
revolution, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy was first developed by Archibald Alexander, 

Turks. See, in this regard: J. Kritzeck, Peter, the Venerable and Islam (Princeton, 1964); H. Bobzin, Der Koran im 
Zeitalter der Reformation (Stuttgart, 2005) 

37 Paul Johnson Relentlessly and Thoroughly: The Only Way to Respond in National Review Online October 15* 
2001. The Reverend Franklin Graham also charges the Koran with inciting attacks on non-Muslims: "You can read 
it for yourseh . And these verses from the Qur'an are not taken out of context, it's there. So we just don't want to 
admit [it], in this country. We would like that everything was in a bubble and everybody's nice and everybody's 
happy. l'm sorry, we don't live in that kind of world." See, Franklin Graham on Islam Religion and Ethics Weekly 
August 9 th , 2002 

38 Ibid. 

39 Around the turn of the last century Hilton S. Terry, a Methodist Episcopalian writing in Biblical Hermeneutics 2 n 
edition (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, n.d.) P.205, turned this very idea into a hermeneutical precept thus: "A 
fundamental principle in grammatico-historical exposition is that the words and sentences can have but one 
significance in one and the same connection. The moment we neglect this principle we drift out upon a sea of 
uncertainty and conjecture." 


Princeton's Theological Seminary's first president. Alexander's stated goal was to defend 
orthodox CaMnism "against, on the one hand, the more subjective and individualistic 
interpretations coming from the revivals of the Second Great Awakening and, on the other hand, 
the naturalistic assumptions of Deism." 40 In response to the former he privileged biblical 
authoritativeness over experience, and to the latter, the notion "that everything in the Bible was 
in accord with scientifically verifiable truth . . . The reader rightly led by the Spirit and the 
scientist rightly led by reason were bound to arrive at the same conclusions." 41 His successor, 
Charles Hodge argued iurther that one need not go beyond the literal word of the Bible, which 
alone embodies the truth; all readings of Scripture when done with sincerity necessarily yield the 
same meanings. This interpretive revolution, known variously as the doctrine of Biblical 
Inerrancy, the Single Meaning principle, or the Grammatical-Historical approach to 
hermeneutics, describes western Christianity's literalist approach to the Bible; as such, it has no 
parallel in Islam, or in any other religious tradition for that matter. 42 

For Islam, the impetus to develop a Koranic hermeneutic stemmed directly from the dogma that 
developed around the revelatory event itself. Whilst it is true that revelation as construed within 
an Islamic framework is more direct and more intense than is the case in the Judeo-Christian 
tradition, it is equally true that its culmination is also more abrupt and more definitive. In Islam, 
God delivered verbatim, His final message to Muhammad through the agency of the angel 
Gabriel; and thereafter, all revelation came to an abrupt halt. Henceforth, all glosses on the 
canonized corpus designed to remove lexical and syntactical opacities or to provide contextual 

40 Nancy T. Ammerman, "North American Protestant Fundamentalism" in Fundamentalisms Observed ed. Martin 
Marty and R. Scott Appleby. (Chicago 1991) p.15 

41 Ibid., 15 

recalibrations were precluded, as a matter of dogma, from being considered divine or inerrant; 
only the text of the Koran as determined by Muhammad prior to his death was considered 
revelation. For Jews, on the other hand, new revelations legitimately authenticated new 
situations, as was the case when, for instance, after the destruction of the second temple in 586 
b.c.e. Jeremiah was solicited to provide fresh revelatory guidance; such solicitations are 
considered blasphemous in Islam, and playing Jeremiah, as some in Islamic history have 
discovered is a capital crime. 43 

And to the extent that scriptural literalism does exist in the interpretive process of the Koran 
today, this ironically is the preoccupation, almost, of the post colonial Muslim psyche that is on 
the one hand largely ignorant of Islam's hermeneutical heritage, and on the other, thoroughly 
schooled in the inerrancies of modern scientific thought; as such, it is more symptomatic of 
minds schooled in medicine and in engineering, let's say, than in the traditional Islamic 
sciences. The Muslim cleric is as perturbed by the carnage and mayhem of religiously inspired 
social disorder as is the average Muslim; but perhaps more ominous for him is the fact that its 
rationale is scripture whose exegesis until modern times was strictly his forte. Throughout 
history parts of the Koran for the average Muslim were within reach, and parts outside: within 

42 Article VII, "Articles of Affirmation and Denial," adopted by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, 
November 10-13, 1982, reads: "We affirm that the meaning expressed in. each biblical text is single, definite and 
fixed. We deny that the recognition of this single meaning eliminates the variety of its application." 

43 The terms used to distinguish between apostolic and non apostolic revelation is wahy and ilham. Whilst the Koran 
uses the term wahy generically to ref er to all f orms of inspiration including God inspiring bees (16:68), and the 
devil inspiring humans (6:121), Muslim theology distinguished prophets from other human beings by designating 
rnon apostolic forms of inspiration as ilham. Arthur Jeffrey in "The Quran as Scripture" in Muslim World vol. 40 
(1950) 190-2 suggests that the word wahy combines both a generic inspiration that is internal as well as the external 
yield of that inspiration. The former implied a poetic impulse in Muhammad, not unlike that experienced by the 
Arab poets, whereas the latter conjured notions of a separate scripture with material quite unlike that which the 
poetic impulse produced. On the conceptual framework of revelation, see: S. Wild We Have sent down to thee the 
book with the truth. . .Spatial and temporal implications ofthe Quranic Concept of Nuzul, Tanzil, and Inzal in The 
Qur'an as Text (Leiden: 1996) 137-53. The non apostolic term ilham appears once in 8: 91: fa alhamaha fujuraha 
wa taawaha in reference to souls that are inspired towards immorality and virtue. Also see: F. Jadaane "Revelation 
et Inspiration en Islam" in Studia Islamica no.26 (1967), 23-47 


reach were its aesthetics, both visual and auricular, as etched on the wall hangings of his 
surroundings, for instance, or as chanted for comfort or devotion during times of joy or sorrow. 
And out of reach was its interpretation when used as dogma, ritual or law; the latter was 
controlled by the religious hierarchy, the ^ulama who themselves were controlled by the 
academic guilds to which they belonged. 44 As such, no individual other than a scholar could 
engage in socially disruptive hermeneutics; but no scholar could likewise, engage in such 
hermeneutics given his affiliation to the scholarly guild. This system prevented the ideas of 
maverick exegetes from subverting the carefully regulated social balance maintained between the 
authority of the ^ulama and that of the political authority on the one hand, and the potentially 
disruptive tendencies of zealots on the other. By contrast, both fundamentalists as well as liberals 
now employ a hermeneutics that, far from being literal, is if anything, cavalier and eclectic, with 
a ratio decidendi that aims not at finding some preexistent divine authorial intent or at 
maintaining social order, but rather at legitimating a decidedly parochial social agenda in which 
textual authority serves as no more than obiter dicta. 45 This selective use of the Koran to push 

44 For a thoroughgoing history and analysis of this intellectual development in Islam, see: G. Makdisi The Rise of 
Colleges: Institutions ofLearning in Islam and the West (Edinburgh, 1981) and The Rise of Humanism in Islam and 
the West, with Special Reference to Scholasticism (Edinburgh, 1990). For a description of the juridical workings of 
this guild system see: S. Jackson Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence ofShihab al-Din al- 
Qarafi (Leiden, 1996) 

45 Secular nationalists may well be added to this category as is clear from the research of Frisch, 
Hillel "Nationalizing a Universal Text: The Quran in Arafat's Rhetoric" Middle Eastern Studies, 
2005, 41, 3, May, 321-350. Frisch looks at how Yasser Arafat transforms Koranic parables into 
a Palestinian nationalistic story to legitimize the struggle against Israel. Somewhat more 
scholarly is the Iranian x ulama's use of the Koran as explained by Amirpur, Katajun "The 
Changing Approach to the Text: Iranian Scholars and the Quran" Middle Eastern Studies, 2005, 
41, 3, May, 337-350. The Shiite scholars of Iran, Katajun explains, have since 1979, put the 
sacred text to various uses including the endorsement of science and modernity. Militant 
Islamists also use the sacred text selectively, rather than literally..For Bin Laden's selective use 
of Koranic material in support of his vision of a global war against infidels, see: Christopher 
Dickey, "Bin Laden's Twisted Mission: a bloody misinterpretation of the Qur'an's calls to arms" 
in Newsweek v. 139 no.6 (February 11 2002) p. 56-7. And for an overview of this selective 


ideology, rectify typecasts or even broaden academic inquiry almost always fails to meet its 
objectives. This last is best exemplified by the recent controversy over the University of North 
Carolina's decision to make Michael Sell's abbreviated Koran required reading for its incoming 
first year students. 46 Clearly, the verses omitted, as critics rightly pointed out, are as integral to 
the overall argument about the Koran's propensity to incite violence as are Sells' selection of its 
unwarlike ones. Exposing students only to the latter gave many the impression of an apologetic 
cover up designed to redeem through omission a semblance of the humanitarian to a text that for 
them was anything but. 47 So much for the origins and functions of exegetical tools; we turn 
now to the book in question, its author, Jalal '1-Din '1-Suyuti, and the era to which he belonged. 
Suyuti's biography reflects all of the intellectual and political sediments of the end period of 
Mamluke rule, when Egypt's attempts at currency devaluations, price fixings, and excise taxes 
did little to repair an economy badly damaged by the wanton profligacy of its political elite. 48 

approach to the sacred text, see: Bernard Lewis "License to Kill: Usama bin Ladin's Declaration 
of Jihad" in Foreign Affairs 77 no.6 (N/D '98) 14-19. For the history and development of 
modern terror groups among Muslims, see: Gilles Kepel The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and 
the West (Harvard: Harvard University press, 2004); Ohvier Roy, "The Radicalization of Sunni 
Conservative Fundamentalism," ISIM (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the 
Modern World) Newsletter no. 2 (March, 1999); and Johannes Jansen, The Neglected Duty, 
(New York: Macmillan, 1986). 

46 Michael Sells Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations (Ashland, 1999) 

47 It was thus not surprising that critics such as James Yacovelli of the Family Policy Network (FPN) would 
complain that SelPs book did not correctly portray Islam, whose real "culture is to kill the intidels and drive planes 
into us, and blow us up." Or that Bill Cf Reilly would compare the Koran as being as complicit in the murderous 
acts of its devotees as was Hitler's Mein Kampf in the Holocaust. 

48 Much of the material used in this biographical sketch of Suyuti is taken from E.M. Sartain's excellent 2 volume 
study titled, Jalal 'l-din 'l-Suyuti: biography and background New York 1975. The most important source for 
Suyuti's biography is an incomplete manuscript of his autobiography, 'l-Tahadduth bi nfmat Allah (MS) preserved 
in the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Tubingen, which Sartain has eloquently translated, and which he refers 
to in his work as the Text. Another noteworthy study is Al-Suyuti and his works: their place in Islamic scholarship 
from Mamluk times to the present in, Mamluk Studies Review [1086-170X] Saleh 

yr: 2001 iss: 5 pg: 73. Ignaz Goldziher also looked at Suyuti's contribution to literature in the article "Zur 
Charakteristik Gelal ud-Din us-Sujuti's und seiner literarischen Thatigkeit" which was first published in German in 
Sitzungsberichte der Philosophisch-Historischen Klasse der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Wien) , 
LXIX (1871), 7-28 and later translated and published as: Ignai Goldiiher on al-Suyuti :a translation ofhis article 
ofl871, with additional notes, in Muslim World 68 Ap 1978, p 79-99 


Those who suffered most because of such reforms were Egyptian peasants, whereas the class to 
which Suyuti belonged, the arbab 'l-aqlam or the "bearers of the pen', were largely insulated 
from economic hardships by the positions they held in the state treasury, the judiciary and, 
education; Suyuti enjoyed the added protection of his family the '1-Khudairis, who held high 
positions in government as judges, comptrollers, and academics. His education, proper, began 
with the Koran, which he committed to memory at the age of eight, and continued thereafter, to 
include all the core subjects in classical Islamic studies, the Arabic language, tafsir, and hadith 
studies; he then received his all important ijaza or 'teaching certification" when he was just 
sixteen. 49 He also studied logic, philosophy and mathematics, but openly admitted a less than 
adequate comprehension of its complexities; he could so admit without losing credibility, it 
would seem, because scholarship generally, during his era was quite dismissive of those with 
mastery over the rational sciences. 50 

Suyuti's prodigious learning was to some extent compromised by his irascible personality: thus 
whilst many respected his knowledge of virtually every topic related to Islam, others reviled his 
arrogance and conceit. That he often gloated over his nonpareil academic training, his rapid 
success, and an almost uncanny ability to solve age old theological and legal conundrums hardly 
endeared him even to those close to him. 51 There is for example, that notorious clash with '1- 
Sakhawi: what began as a simple disagreement over legal opinions ultimately became a 

49 'l-Dawudi, fol. 10v. 

50 He thus writes in his biography, Text 138, of his love for grammar and fiqh, describing them as his best subjects. 
For rhetoric, prose writing and the science of hadith evaluation he shows less love, and even less so for the laws of 
inheritance. He admits knowing very little about arithmetic and prosody, and as for logic and the philosophical 
sciences, he says: "I do not occupy myself with them because they are forbidden (haram), as T-Nawawi and others 
have stated, and, even if they were permissible, I would not prefer them to the religious sciences." 

51 Suyuti, Marshall Hodgson tells us, "prided himself on how many subjects he had treated which no one before him 
had dealt with." See his The Venture ofIslam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization vol. 2, Chicago 
1994. P.437 


personality slugfest between Suyuti and an erstwhile admirer. 52 The relationship was further 
complicated by his claims to being a mujtahid, or a juridical savant with the intellectual acumen 
needed to make substantial changes to the sacred law; this function, known as ijtihad, had by 
common consent, come to a halt in the 9 th century. 53 That Suyuti would lay claim to this office 
betrayed not just the level of his conceit, but also a cavalier disregard for the unanimous opinion 
of his predecessors. This was particularly irksome to a scholarly community whose authority 
devolved more from completing a successful internship than from producing original ideas. 54 
His relationship to Sufism was also complicated, and this because he was, after all, a scholar and 
not a mystic, with loyalties to the scholarly discipline, as such, and not to the pursuit of ultimate 
spiritual verities. But in deference to the era in which he lived-and it was one wherein sufism 
reigned supreme in Egypt as in almost every other part of Islamdom-he conscientiously, avoided 
criticizing the f aith and practice of those who trod the sufi way. Whilst it is true that in 

52 Muhammad b. "Abd T-Rahman '1-Sakhawi's (d.1497) reputation flows, not so much from his teaching or 
publishing records, but from him having been a student of the renowned scholar Ibn Hajar T-*Asqalani, author of the 
highly celebrated commentary on the hadith collection of Muhammad b. IsmaTl '1-Bukhari. His resentment towards 
Suyuti and others, some say, stemmed from the fact that, unlike them, he was never able to procure a prestigious 
teaching position. His biographical dictionary in which he so impugns Suyuti, does however, provide useful 
information pertinent to hadith transmitters. See, in this regard: Muhammad Mustapha Ziyadah Al-Mu 'rrikhun fi 
Misr fi 'l-Qam 'l-Khamis "Ashar 'l-Miladi (Cairo 1949) For '1-Sakhawi's version of this incident, see: Muhammad 
b. "Abd '1-Rahman '1-Sakhawi 'l-Dau* 'l-LamV UAhl 'l-Qarn 'l-Tas'i 12vols. (Cairo 1973). Inithe speaks 
derisively of Suyuti, both as a person and as a scholar. Suyuti returns the favor with an equally contemptuous 
riposte titled: 'l-Kawi li dimagh 'l-Sakhawi. A full account of this personality clash is to be found in Suyuti's Tadrib 
'l-Rawi fi Sharh Taqrib 'l-Nawawi Riyadh, 1994. Also see, 'Abd '1-Wahhab '1-Hammudah Safahat min Tarikh Misr 
fi 'Asr 'l-Suyuti (1965) 

53 In one place he is quoted as saying, for instance: "God has established us in the post of Ijtihad, so that we may 
explain our legal thoughts that will serve to revive the faith". As a result, Ibn Hajr '1-Haithami says, scholars banded 
together to attack him by drawing questionnaires meant to test his jurisic aptitude; Suyuti, for the most dismissed 
such challenges, insisting instead, that no living scholar equaled him in leaming and intelligence. See, in this regard: 
'1-Manawi Faid 'l-Qadir: Sharh 'l-JamV 'l-Saghar Beirut 1971. The earliest discussion on the qualifications of the 
mujtahid appears in Abu Husain T-Basri's 'l-Mu'tamad fi Usul 'l-Fiqh (Damascus, 1964)Also see, Joseph Schacht 
An Introduction to Islamic Law (Oxford 1964) pp. 70-71; J.N. Anderson Law Reform in the Muslim World (London 
1976), p.7. For an altemative to these views, see: Wael Hallaq Was the Gate ofIjtihad Closed in The International 
Journal of Middle East Studies 16 (1984), 3-41 

54 Except for a few periods in Muslim history when innovative thinking was highly prized, for the most part 
academic tutelage, oral transmissions, and dictations remained the standard by which credentials were vetted. 
Suyuti, for instance, was criticized for writing about the modes of Quranic recitation ('l-qira'a) because he had not 


discussing the credentials of the exegete he does indeed, critique sufi commentaries, and in 
particular, the emphasis they place on allegorical interpretations, he takes pains to show that he 
disapproves only of those interpretations which negate entirely the more obvious meanings given 
to any particular verse. Personally, Suyuti it seems distinguished between his academic pursuits 
which he willingly discussed, and his mystical pursuits which he considered private. We know 
from a manuscript lodged in the Egyptian National Library that whilst in Mecca, Ibn Imam '1- 
Kamiliyyah initiated him into the sufi orders of Abu '1-Qasim '1-Junaid, Ahmad '1-Rifa'i and 
'Abd '1-Qadir '1-Jilani. 55 His ambivalence may also have been driven by his ambitions and 
particularly, his claims to being the promised reformer (mujaddid) of the 9 th Muslim century, 
sent at the turn of each century to revive Islam's pristine teachings. But the 'ulama's uneasy 
relationship with Sufism starts well before Suyuti, in the 8 th century in fact, when scholars and 
mystics went their separate ways in response to the imperial authority of the caliphs. Thanks 
mainly to the synthesizing efforts of Abu Hamid '1-Ghazali — himself an accomplished 
theologian, jurist, and mystic — that gulf was considerably narrowed, enhancing the standing of 
the 'ulama amongst the laity, and bringing Sufism "out of its isolation from the dominant 
conception of religion and established it as a standard element in the Muslim believer's life." 56 
In the end Suyuti himself provides reason for his qualified endorsement of Sufism: "It seems" he 
says: "that the reason for my dedicating myself at the end. . .to the Sufi path and to constant 
association with the people" (i.e. the Sufis) is a tendency inherited from my ancestors." 57 

been formally inducted into the reading fraternity. See, in this regard Muhammad b. "Abd '1-Rahman '1-Sakhawi '/- 

Dau' 'i-LamV UAhl 'l-Qarn 'l-Tasf 12 vols. (Cairo 1934) 

55 1 refer here to the work, Lubs 'l-Khirqah wa talqin 'l-dhikr wa 'i-suhbah (MS) ENL, MajamT Qawalah, 25. 

56 Ignaz Goldziher, Introducation to Islamic Theology and Law Princeton, 1981 p. 160 

57 Ibid., 37 


A word about the compilation of the Itqan: by today's standards, Suyuti's method of compiling 
the Itqan would, at best, be considered slipshod, and at worst, blatant plagiarism. To a culture 
such as ours which extols creativity and ingenuity over tradition and continuity plagiarism, or 
literary theft is perhaps the only contemptible infraction towards which we as academics and 
scholars show little sympathy. It would therefore strike us as odd, if not downright duplicitous, 
that someone with the academic credentials of Suyuti would build his credentials on works filled 
with material improperly appropriated. It must however be remembered that the convention of 
quoting sources precisely, and citing references, which scholars today consider natural, almost 
instinctive one may say is, to quote Jacques Barzun and Henry Graff, no more than "a very 
sophisticated act, peculiar to a civilization that uses printed books, believes in evidence, and 
makes a point of assigning credit or blame in a detailed and a verifiable way." 58 Transposing 
entire chapters without acknowledgment, or grafting one text on to some other, whilst 
unacceptable by modern standards, was however, not inappropriate to the literary ethics of 16 th 
century Egypt. In the tradition of Islamic scholarship, the value of any work was determined, not 
by its originality and creative impulse, but by its connection, in form and content, to the "Golden 
Age" of Islam, and to its pious ancestry. By transmitting words and ideas first uttered by the 
pious ancestors (the '\-Salaf 'l-Salih) or threading them into one's own material gave such 
material instant recognition. Not that Muslim scholarship took plagiarism lightly: as elsewhere it 
was roundly condemned. But the practice was perceived differently and in a slightly different 
context: more was said about plagiarism in poetry than in prose, and particularly with borrowing 
motifs (ma'ani), intimating narratives indirectly, or inserting stanzas (tadmin) without 
acknowledgement. Also, more attention was paid to the word than to meaning, to form than to 

58 See, in this regard: Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff, The Modern Researcher, 3 rd edition (New York, 1977), 


content, and to the classical than to the innovative; this last, which Lovejoy calls chronological 
primitivism, and which is emblematic of the Hellenistic concept of linear time as well, was the 
consequence of the perception that civilizations become increasingly nihilistic through time, that 
faith and morality decreases from generation to generation, and that evil ultimately trumps 
good. 59 Such perspectives, von Grunebaum rightly points out, "cannot but establish the authority 
of the earlier generations and depreciate whatever achievement the contemporaries may have to 
offer". 60 But this in no way devalues the overall contributions of both the book as well as its 
author: the Itqan, remains an indispensable reference for those involved in traditional exegesis 
(tafsir) as well as in modern criticism. And along with such luminaries as Bukhari in hadith 
literature, and Tabari in history, it establishes Suyuti as the authority in the study of the Koran. 
As for the structure of the work itself, it must be said that the Itqan is a compilation quite unlike 
any other, even by traditional standards. Kenneth Nolin, in his study of its sources, shows that 
close on sixty percent of the material used in the Itqan may be traced to some f our hundred 
authors, and well over four hundred and fifty different works. 61 To introduce and identify these 
disparate sources Suyuti uses formulaic prefixes, such as: "It is said" (qala), or "some of them 
have said" (qala ba'duhum), or "someone else has said" (qala ghairuhu). More specifically, 
when introducing material from the apostolic traditions (hadith) he uses formulas such as 
"extracted" (akhraja), "related" (haka) and "narrated" (rawa); and when introducing the opinions 
of later scholars he more commonly uses "he said" (qala). And in transmitting such traditions 
Suyuti closely follows classical conventions such as transmission chains, authenticated 


59 A.O. Lovejoy and G. Boas, Primitivism and Related ideas in Antiauity (1935); cf. Esp. Pp 2-3 

60 Gustave E. Von Grunebaum "The Concept of Plagiarism in Arabic Theory" in Journal ofNear Easter Studies 
vol.3, no.4 (Oct, 1944) 253 


traditions, and complete citations. But such standards are not applied to other sources, which 
explain why such material is often omitted, emended, or abbreviated. Another peculiarity worth 
mentioning is the f act that secondary sources by prominent scholars are sometimes preferred to 
primary sources from scholars such as: Ibn '1-Anbari 62 , Ibn '1-Jazari 63 , '1-Tabari 64 , '1-Zarkashi 65 , 
'1-Baihaqi 66 , and '1-Bukhari 67 . Of these, perhaps the most quoted would be the Burhan of Badr 
'1-Din '1-Zarkashi, without which by Suyuti's own admission, his own Itqan would not have been 
produced. And whilst it is only credited some forty times, actual use of Burhan material occurs 
far more frequently in various forms. It is mentioned by name only if it enjoys some qualitative 
advantage over other sources, or when the borrowing is literal, or when Suyuti takes exception to 
it; Burhan material may also appear in places as no more than a selective patchwork of original 
words and phrases. (52) In what Nolin calls "parallel dependency" the Itqan also combines 
Burhan material with "many other, more specific books, or sometimes a sequence of different 
ones on the same subject." (55) But identifying such combinations are complicated by their 
frequency and by Suyuti's own embarrassment at the extent of the borrowings. The Itqan's 
semantical and lexical oddities, its truncated names and titles, and its unvoweled letters, all 

61 Much of the material that follows is based on Nolin's unpublished dissertation, titled The Itqan and its Sources: A 
Study ofAl-Itqan Fi ^Ulum Al-Quran By Jalal Al-Din Al-Suyuti With Special Reference to Al-Burhan Fi ^Ulum Al- 
Qur'an By Badr Al-Din Al-Zarkashi (Hartford, 1968) 

62 Ibn al-Anbari, Abu al-Hasan Muhammad b. "Umar b. Ya"qub is otherwise famous for having composed an elegy 
for Ibn Baqiya, Tzz al-Dawla's minister. See "Asrar al-Balagha of "Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani ed. Helmut Ritter 
(Istanbul 1954) pp. 321-322 

63 This is the famous author of Ghayat al-Nihaya fi Tabaqat al-Qurra' ed. G. Bergstrasser and O. Pretzl (Cairo 1932) 
a biographical dictionary of the most prominent Qur'an reciters. 

64 Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari (839-923 c.e.)is more renowned in scholarly circles both Muslim and western for 
his Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk , a universal history that begins with creation and ends with the author's era. See 
Montgomery Watt 's introduction in The history of al-Tabari vol. 6 (Albany 1988) 

65 Badr al-Din al-Zarkashi's work al-Burhan fi ^Ulum al-Qur'an features prominently in Suyuti's Itqan 

66 Abu Bakr Ahmed b. al-Hussain al-Baihaqi (994c.e.) a student of Hakim al-Nishapuri was actually born in 

Khasrajand in the district of Baihaq 


Muhammad b. Ismail b. Ibrahim al-Bukhari (810-) the famous hadith scholar and author of the al-Sihah was born 
in the city of Bukhara in what is today Uzbekistan. 


further complicate its comprehension. As Nolin points out, a verb which is active or passive may 
well indicate the source and quality of the material cited, a literal transposition of some other 
source, or the first words of a new quotation. Distinguishing between direct and indirect 
borrowing admittedly alleviates the problem somewhat: in the former case the material is 
borrowed verbatim, whilst in the latter, it forms part of Suyuti's critique of such material. At 
times he by passes '1-Zarkashi, to quote directly from the primary sources, whilst in others he 
quotes the original Burhan material in full. To determine such additions one looks for certain 
formulae: verbs such as "extracted" or "derived" generally allude to material taken from hadith 
literature, whereas words such as "he said" allude to material taken from other writers on the 

Another of Suyuti's oddities is his tendency to introduce outside sources without warning: in ii, 
58:10, for instance, Ibn Hisham is first quoted, followed by '1-Zamakhshari, and a few lines later, 
by Tzz b. Abd '1-Salam. Then Ibn Hisham is again quoted together with excerpts from a section 
of the Burhan in which Tzz b. 'Abd '1-Salam along with the title of his book is mentioned. In the 
same section Ibn Jami' is mentioned, as part of a quotation taken from the Burhan, only to be 
quoted again, not from the Burhan this time, but from the original; one possible reason for this is 
that Suyuti may have used both texts simultaneously for this section. The Burhan appears most 
prominently in the special sections, and in places, it is set off parenthetically from the main text, 
whilst at others it is put under separate headings; such headings themselves are sometimes 
replaced by synonyms. As for the differences between these two texts, and there are many, these 
have been ascribed to inadequate editing and printing standards. Centuries of reprints have in 
places caused significant changes to the script, and this is particularly problematic with Arabic 


where dropping even a single dot may change the gender, or the form of the verb. For instance, 
Koranic verses that are identical except for a single dot are cited in both texts to illustrate the 
same point, but the citation itself at times appears identical and at others different; (SEE 73, note 
17 & 18) needless to say; this causes considerable angst among the faithful who believe in the 
inerrancy of the sacred text. Some of the other changes retlect Suyuti's own preferences: he, for 
instance almost always prefers masculine verb forms over the feminine. (See p 75, note 25) He 
also seems to prefer certain names, places and even book titles over others. When combining 
sources Suyuti is most likely to use introductory terms such as: "I say" (qultu), "meaning" 
(ya'ni), and "that is" (ayy). But it is when he uses "in my opinion" ('indi) that one is able to 
distinguish between Suyuti, the editor, and Suyuti, the analyst. This usually occurs when he is 
about to choose from amongst several opinions which he has cited, as in, for example, the debate 
on the first complete chapter to be revealed in its entirety. (P.98, note 42) The other formulae he 
uses to express his personal opinion include: "the correct view" ('1-sawab), "The preferred view" 
('1-mukhtar) and "The most correct view" ('1-asahh) His comments, it must be said, are generally 
terse, and to the point, and where appropriate, he refers readers to his other works on the same 
topic. Thus, in the section on the causes of revelation he points readers to his separate, and more 
exhaustive study on this very topic titled Lubab 'l-Nuqul fi Asbab 'l-Nuzul 68 
Lest one criticise Suyuti too harshly for his scholarly integrity or a lack thereof, one must 
remember that his was an era fraught with the orthographic difficulties unknown to us today. 
Access to primary sources which we might take for granted, for instance, was a privilege enjoyed 
only by the affluent or by those with social standing. Even Cairo's relatively large collection of 
ancient manuscripts, for instance, was mainly in private hands with owners insisting that they 

' Suyuti Lubab 'l-Nuqul fi Asbab 'l-Nuzul (Cairo, n.d.) 


remain in the library and be perused only in their presence. Scholars with limited resources like 
Suyuti would often take recourse to stealthily transcribing sources in book stores to their private 
notebooks; in so doing they obviously increased the likelihood of errors creeping in. All in all 
therefore, the compilation of the Itqan, notwithstanding Suyuti's questionable methodology, is a 
remarkable achievement, which still serves those engaged in serious exegetical and literary 
analysis. This was no cut and paste project: it took tremendous skill to find, edit and assimilate 
its disparate sources into what is undoubtedly a quite coherent, readable reference work on the 


Sabab ^1-Nuzul 
Reasons For Revelation 


The ll l century c.e. is as far back as one can go to find works that dealt exclusively with 
material said to establish the times, places, and circumstances that prompted the revelation of 
the Koranic verses. The original Asbab works as they are sometimes called are perhaps no 
more than four and it is to them that all subsequent independent works or references within 
other works may be traced. 1 In Andrew Rippin's study of the role of asbab material in early 
exegesis four major texts are considered prime. These are the Kitab al-nuzul of al-Wahidi 
(d.1075), Asbab al-nuzul wa qisas al-Furqaniya of Muhammad b. As^ad al-Iraqi (d. 1171) 
lubab al-Nuqul fi asbab al-Nuzul of al-Suyut (d. 1501) and a text in the Berlin state library 
wrongly ascribed to al-Ja^bari. 2 Al-Wahidi's work restricts itself to some 83 chapters of the 
Koran and mainly cites asbab material appearing in apostolic traditions with full chains of 
Reasons For Revelation 

A group of scholars specialized in this subject, of whom the most senior would be "Ali b. 
Madini, the teacher of Bukhari. The most famous work on this subject, notwithstanding its 
brevity, would be that of '1-Wahidi. Ja^bari further summarized this work by omitting its 
chain of narrators and adding nothing more to it. Shaikh 1-Islam, Abu '1-Fadl b. Hajr 
compiled a book in the form of notes on this subject but died before its completion. I have not 
come across a complete copy thereof. I too have compiled a work on this topic, which I titled 
Lubab 1-Nuqul fiasbab 1-nuzul, and it is indeed unique in being both comprehensive and 
brief. Ja^bari has said: "The revelation of the Qur'an falls into two categories: 
i) That which was revealed without precedence. 

^Rippin, Andrew The Quranic 'Asbab al-Nuzul Material: An Analysis of its Development and use in 
Exegesis Ph.D. diss., McGill University (Canada) This work which appears in revised form as: The Exegetical 
Genre Asbab al-Nuzul : A Bibliographical and Terminological Survey Bulletin of the School of Oriental and 
AMcan Studies (London, 1985) is still the primary source in English for the study of asbab material and its 
contribution to Koranic exegesis. Another important work in this regard is the same author's Approaches to the 
history ofthe interpretation ofthe Quran ( New York : Oxford University Press, 1988);The Quran : formative 
interpretation (Brookfield, VT : Ashgate, 1999); 

ii) That which was revealed due to an incident or in response to a question. 

Many questions pertain to this subject. 

Question One 

The merits of determining the reasons for revelation: One scholar claims that it has no merit, 

seeing that it is so similar to history. He erred. It has in fact several merits, which include the 


1. Knowing the wisdom that prompted the promulgation of a law 

2. Limiting the ambit of a rule, at least for those who subscribe to the principle that meanings 
should be determined by the revelatory context (and not by the plain text as such). 

3. A word with a general meaning is at times rendered specific through evidence. Where the 
revelatory context is known the meaning will be restricted accordingly to the exclusion of all 
other scenarios. This is so because context is considered definitive {qafi); in such cases 
using rational arguments is prohibited. This, as reported by the judge, Abu Bakr in the work 
1-Taqrib is the consensus of the scholars. No regard must thus be given to those isolated 
opinions that allow this. 

4. Attaining the proper meaning of a word and removing all ambiguity. Wahidi has said: "it 
is impossible to interpret a verse without reference to the story behind it, and its revelation". 
Ibn Daqiq 1-Td has said: "Knowing the revelatory context is a powerful tool to unraveling 
the meaning of the Qur'an". And Ibn Taymiyyah has said: "knowing the revelatory context 
helps understand the verse, for knowledge of the revelatory context provides knowledge of 
the cause itself. Marwan b. 1-Hakam had difficulty in understanding the verse "la 
tahsabanna allathina yafrahuna bima atou.. . ." 3 (3:188). He said: " if every man was 
punished for rejoicing in what was given to him, and in loving being praised for things he had 
not done, then we should all be punished, every one of us!". Ibn ^Abbas then explained to 
him that the verse was revealed in regard to People of the Book, who when asked something 
by the Prophet (s) would hide it from him.; they would instead point him elsewhere, and tell 
him that they had indeed informed him as he had requested. For this they wanted his 
commendation. This was reported by Bukhari and Muslim. 

3 "Think not of those who rejoice in what they have done 

It is reported that ^Uthman b. Ma£\m and^Amr b. MaMikarib would cite the verse: 
"laisa "ala allathina amanu wa "amilu 1-salihati junah fima Jalmu. . ." 4 (5:93) in their claim 
that: "Wine is permissible!", using the verse as a proof. But if they had known the revelatory 
context of the verse they would not have said that. When wine was declared unlawful 
people asked: What of those who died in the path of God but drank wine which is impure, as 
well.?" In response, this verse was revealed. Ahmed, Nasa'I and others quote this tradition. 
The same is true for the condition in the verse "wa alla'i ya'isna min 1-mahid' min nisa'ikum 
in irtabtum fa Iddatuhunna thalathatu ash hur. . ." 5 (65:4) which confused some scholars; and 
this led to the Zahirites concluding that: "there is no waiting period (iddah) menopausal 
women if they are not irregular". This however is clarified by the rc: on the authority of Ibn 
'Ubayy, Hakim reports that when the verse in Baqarah pertaining to the waiting period for 
women was revealed, they said that a number of women, comprising of the aged and the 
young, are not accounted for in the waiting period verses. In response, the verse in question 
was revealed. It is clear from this that the verse addresses those who were ignorant of their 
status with regard to the waiting period: were they bound by the waiting period rules or not? 
And was their waiting period the same as those mentioned Baqarah or not? Thus the words 
in irtabtum applies if their status confuses you and you know not how they ought to observe 
their waiting periods? This therefore, is their rule. 1 

And in the case of the verse " fa aynama tuwallu fa thamma wajhu Allah" 6 (2:115), if 
we confined its meaning to that of the lexicon it would prescribe that the person engaged in 
the daily prayers (salat) is not required to face Mecca (qiblah) whether on journey or at 
home. But this is contrary to the consensus (ijmiT) of the scholars. Having knowledge of the 
rc however, apprizes one to the fact that this rule applies only to supererogatory prayers 
whilst traveling, and to that person who erred in determining the direction of prayer and 
realized that whilst still in prayer. There are however, variant opinions on this rule. 

And the literal meaning of the verse " inna l-safa wa 1-marwat min sha^ir Allah. . . 

4 "Those who believe and do righteous deeds, bear no sin for having eaten. . ." 

5 "And those of your women who has passed the age of monthly, for them the iddah (prescribed 
period), if you have doubt, is three months. . ." 

6 "So wherever you turn, there is the Face of God" 

." 7 (2:185) does not make obligatory running between the two hills ( 1-say), and based on this 
reading some have ruled that it is indeed not obligatory. Ayesha however objected to 
"Urwah's interpretation by citing the rc. It was revealed in response to those Companions 
who considered the 1-say a sinful relic of the days of ignorance. 

5. Discarding the imagination of 1-hasr (restriction). The gist of 'l-ShafiTs opinion on the 
verse: "qul la ajidu fi ma uhiya ilayya muharraman. . ." 8 (6:145) is that it was revealed in 
response to the Meccan pagans when they made unlawful what God made lawful, and made 
lawful what God made unlawhil; they thus rebellious and obstinate {unto them ,and they 
were opposed to and in violation (to God }. The verse had thus come to oppose their 
objectives. It is tantamount to Him saying: "Only that which you consider unlawful is in fact 
lawful, and only that which you consider lawful is in fact unlawful." It falls in the same 
category as one who says : "eat no sweets today! To which you reply: : "I will eat nothing but 
sweets today!" The aim here is to contradict, and not to negate or affirm facts. It is as if the 
Almighty is saying: "Nothing is unlawhil except that which you make lawhil; this inlcudes 
carrion, blood, swine and that which is slaughtered as sacrifice to some other deity. This 
however, does not imply the lawhilness of things beyond these because the objective is to 
confirm the unlawful and not the lawful. Imam '1-haramain ('1-Juwaini) has said: "this is 
indeed a highly subtle observation, which if '1-Shaff I had not preempted we would not have 
been able to oppose Malik in his confining the unlawhils only to those mentioned in the 

"Verily! as-safa and al-Marwah (two mountains in Mecca) are the symbols of God. . ." 
8 "Say (O Muhammad): " I do not find in that which have been revealed to me anything forbidden to be 


6. Knowing the person in whose name the verse was revealed and identifying the ambiguity 
therein. And with regard to the verse "wa allathi qa la li walidayhi uff lakuma" 9 (46:17) 
Marwan would say that it was revealed in reference to Abd 1-Rahman b. Abu Bakr, until 
Ayesha responded to him by identifying its rc. 
Second mas'alah (legal yerdict) 

Juristic theoreticians differ with regard to the principle: "Wisdom lies in the generality 
of the words rather than in the specifics of its rc." We believe that it is former that is most 
correct. After all, many a verse was revealed in response to some cause, whereas scholars 
unanimously extended its application to areas beyond such cause. Thus, the verse of zihar (a 
pre-Islamic form of divorce) was revealed in regard to Salamah b.sahr; the verse of IV an (a 
sworn allegation of adultery)was revealed in regard to hilal b. Umayyah; and the slander 
ordinances were revealed in regard to those who slandered 'Ayesha, and these were all then 
extended to apply to others as well. Those who give no credence to the literal word counter 
that these and other such rules are established by way of other proofs, just as verses are 
unanimously restricted to their rc where such proof exists. In connection with the chapter 1- 
Humazat Zamakhshari had this to say: "it is quite permissible to consider the cause specific 
and the rebuke general in order to include those who might engage in the said evil. The 
cause would then be considered an allusion. 

I say: : "Of the proofs that give credence to the view that the literal word is primary is 
the Companion's and other's free and widespread usage of the general meaning of the verses 
that were revealed in special contexts as argumentation. Ibn Jarir said: "Muhammad b. Abu 
Ma^shar narrated to me that Abu Abu Ma^shar Najih informed us that he heard SaTd '1- 
Maqburi discuss with Muhammad b. Ka'b '1-Qurazi. SaTd said: "in parts of the Book of God 
it says that there are amongst the servants of God, those with tongues sweeter than honey, 
hearts more bitter than aloe, who wear fine clothes made of sheep skin, and obtain this world 
by means of the faith". Muhammad b. Ka'b said: "this is indeed, in the Book of God, in the 
verse "wa min 1-nas man yu^jibuka qauluhu fi 1-hayat T-dunya. . ." 10 (2:204). SaTd said: 
"do you know for whom it was revealed?". Muhammad b. Ka'b said: "indeed! The verse 
was revealed in regard to some man, but became general thereafter. 

9 "He who says to his parents: "fie upon you both" 

10 "And ot mankind there is he whose speech may please you in this worldly life. . ." 

If you were to say: "Here's Ibn 'Abbas however, who did not consider the verse " la 
tahsabanna allathina yafrahuna. . ." 11 (3:188) to be general, but restricted it instead to the 
story of the People of the Book about which it was revealed. I would say: "My response to 
that would be: That a word is more generally than the situation which caused its revelation is 
certainly not unknown to him. He however, was explaining that the objective of the word was 
indeed restricted . This is similar to the verse: to the Prophet (s) explanation of the word "7- 
mlm" in the verse "wa lam yalbisu Imanahum bi zulm" 12 (6:82) as association (shirk) which 
he deduced from the verse "inna 1-shirk la zulmun ^aiim" 13 (31:13). This, despite the 
understanding of the Companions that the word mlm applies generally to all forms of 
injustice. And there is in fact a report from Ibn 'Abbas that confirms him giving credence to 
the generality argument. He for instance, held this view with regard to the theft verse even 
though it was first revealed conceming a women who stole. Ibn Abu Hatim said: " N Ali b. 
Husain narrated from Muhammad b. Abu Hammad, who quotes Abu Thumailah b. Abu 
Mu'min from Najdah 1-Hanafi who said: " I asked Ibn 'Abbas whether the verse " wa l-sariq 
wa l-sariqat fa i^ta^u aidihima" 14 (5:38) is specific or general? He said that it is general. 

Ibn Taymiyyah has said : "Often, words such as "this verse is revealed conceming 
such and such a person" are used, especially when such a person is mentioned, as in the verse 
of zihar, which some say was revealed in regard to the wife of Thabit b. Qays, or the verse of 
kalalah which was revealed in regard to Jabir b. ^Abd Allah, or the verse "wa an uhkum 
baynahum" 15 (5:49) which was revealed in regard to the Banu Quraiza and the Nadlr. The 
same is true of verses said to have been revealed in regard to a group of Meccan pagans, or a 
group of the Jews and Christians, or a group of Muslims. Those making such assertions are 
not of the opinion that the rule that the verse establishes is restricted to those groups to the 
exclusion of all others. No Muslim or sane person can ever say that. People, in spite of their 
different opinions about the generality of a particular word used in a given cause, still ask 
the question: "should the general word be specified by its cause?" No one says that the 

11 "Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done. . ." 

12 "And confuse not their beliet with zulm (wrong) " 

13 "Verily joining others in worship with God is a great wrong indeed" 
"And the male thief and the female thief, cut off their hands" 

15 "And so judge (O Muhammad) among them by what God. . ." 

general word in the Qur'an and the Sunnah is specific to some person. At most it extends at 
least to that genre of people who share such attributes. And the general depends not on the 
word alone. As for that verse which has a rc, if it is a command or prohibition, then it will 
apply to the individual concerned as well as to those who fall in this category. If however, it 
consists of praise or dispraise then too it will it will apply to the individual concrened as well 
as to those who fall in this category. 

You know from what was said that words are considered to general. As for that verse which 
was revealed in regard to a specific person, and whose words are not general, it will be 
restricted entirely as such. An example is the verse "wa sa yujannabuha 1-Atqa allathi yu'ti 
malahu yatazakka" 16 (92:17 - 18). Scholars are unanimous that it was revealed in regard to 
Abu Bakr al-siddiq. And by looking at this verse in conjunction with the verse "inna 
akramakum Inda Allah atqakum" 17 (49:13) Fakhr 1-Din Razi 

concludes that Abu Bakr is indeed the most virtuous person after the Messenger of God. 
Those who thinks that the verse is general, applicable to anyone who falls in that category, 
based on the principle, are wrong: the verse has no general form; the alif and the lam give a 
general meaning when it is a relative pronoun or is definite in the plural form. A group of 
scholars add "or when in single form" on condition that there is no article of ^ahd (when the 
article al used to distinguish a noun known to hearer). The lam in the word "l-atqa" is not a 
relative noun because the definite article latter, through common consensus, does not create a 
relative noun with a noun in the superlative form. The word "l-atqa" is not plural but singular 
and the ^ahd is present, {especially with the distinguish and non-partnership which is attained 
with the form of aF*alu .}{ The view that it is general, is null and void, and definiteness 
through specification is established and confining the ruling to the person about whom the 
verse was revealed.} 
Third mas'alah (legal yerdict) 

The Similarities of the Revelatory Cause with the literal word 

16 "And the pious will be far removed from it (hell). He who spends his wealth for increase in self- 

17 „ 

Yerily, the most honorable of you by God is he who is pious" 

Already mentioned is the fact that the form of the cause is definitely part of the 
general Many a verse was revealed due to specific causes and then placed with suitable 
general verses keeping the systematic approach of the Qur'an and context in mind. In this 
way the specification comes close to the form of the cuase in being definitively part of the 
general. Thus has Subuki preferred the view that it is a middle category below the cause and 
above the causeless. An example would be the verse: " a lam tara ila allathina, utu nasiban 
yu'minuna bi '1-jibt wa 1-Jaghut. . ," 18 (4:51) which refers to Ka'b b. 1-Ashraf and other 
Jewish scholars who on arrival in Mecca and after witnessing those killed in Badr, urged the 
pagans to take revenge by doing battle with the Prophet (s). They then asked them : " who is 
more guided, Muhammad and his companions or us? They said: "you are", even though they 
knew otherwise through descriptions given in their book that applied to the Prophet (s), and 
even though they had pledged not to hide this. This was thus, a binding trust which they 
flouted when, driven by jealousy of the Prophet (s), they told the pagans, "you are more 
guided". This verse together with this utterance, carries a threat that serves to prescribe the 
opposite of it, and incorporates the requirement that trusts must be fulfilled, which in this 
case happens to be the explication of the Prophet's attributes as being the one described in 
their book. This is in keeping with the verse: "inna Allah ya'muru kum an tu'addul-amanat 
ila ahliha" 19 (4:58). This applies generally to all trusts, whereas that is specific to a single 
trust, the attributes of the Prophet (s) in the manner so described. In writing the general 
follows the specific even though it was revealed after it. Congruence requires that the object 
of the specific be included in the general. And this is why This relationship It is appropriate 
that indication of the specific should be included in the general. Therefore, Ibn '1-^Arabi in 
his exegesis that the arrangement is justified because it gives notice of the People of the 
Book's concealment of the attributes of the Prophet (s) and their assertion: "The pagans are 
indeed more rightly guided! " This was dishonesty on their part, which sort of forced the 
discussion to include all kinds of trusts. 

Some scholars have said: "the delayed revelation of the verse of trusts, some six years 
afterwards, does not contradict this because time is a factor in establishing rc, and not 

1 "Have you not considered those who were given a portion ot the Scripture? They believe in Sorcery 
and Jaghut (anything worshiped other than God). . ." 

19 "God, indeed, commands you to return trusts back to its rightM owners." 

relationships. The objective after all, is only to place a verse which is best suited to it. Verses 
were revealed in accordance with their causes, and the Prophet (s) would instruct that they be 
inserted in suitable places that he knew through God to be their rightful places. 

The fourth mas'alah (legal yerdict) 
Deterrmining the Revelatory Cause 

Wahidi said: "Opinions about the rc of the Book are not permissible except from 
those among the witnesses of revelation who happened to have heard such reports and 
researched its application. Muhammad b. Sirin said: "I asked ^Ubaidah about a verse in the 
Qur'an", to which he replied: "Fear the Lord and speak truthfully! Those with knowledge of 
the circumstances that prompted God to reveal the Qur'an have passed on". 

Another scholar has said: "knowledge of the rc was abtained by the Companions by 
way of judicial matters. At times some of them not certain would aks: "I think this verse was 
revealed in regard to such and such person", as was reported by all six scholars, on the 
authority of 'Abd Allahb.b. Zubair who said: " Zubair disputed with a man concerning the 
flow of water on land at 1-harrah. The Prophet (s) said: "O Zubair, Irrigate (your farm), then 
send the water to your neighbour". The Ansari then said: " O Messenger of God, is this 
because he is your cousin!". His face changed colors. . ." Zubair said: " I believe that the 
verse " fala wa rabbika la yu'minun hatta yuhakkimuka fi ma shajara bayna hum " 20 (4:65) 
was revealed only in that context. 

In the work Ulum 1-hadRh Hakim said: "If a Companion who was witness to the 
period of revelation provides information about a verse of the Qur'an as being revealed in 
some context, then that tradition would be considered a sound tradition (hadith musnad). 
This view is shared by Ibn '1-Salah and others who cite the tradition in Muslim narrated on 
the authority of Jabir in which he says: : "the Jews used to say that the child born of a sexual 
encounter in which the woman's vagina is penetrated from the rear will be cross eyed." As a 
result God revealed: the verse "nisa'ukum harthun lakum" 21 (:223)". 

Ibn Taymiyyah has said: "Statements such as: "this verse was revealed in such and 

"But no, by your Lord, they can have no taith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all 
disputes between them" 

21 "Your wives are a tilth unto you" 

such context at times refers to the rc and at others to that which was integral to the verse itself 
without necessarily being the rc. This is like saying "He meant such and such by this verse." 
Scholars differ when a Companion says: "this verse was revealed in regard to this". Will it 
be considered a musnad tradition as when the rc wherefore the verse came down is 
mentioned, or will it be considered as commentary from him without having the status of a 
sound tradition? Bukhari considers this a sound tradition whereas others do not. Most of 
Musnad compendia fall into this category, like the Musnad of Ahmad and others. Opposed to 
this is where the cause that prompted the revelation is mentioned which all of them include 
in the sound category. 

Zarkashi said in the work 1-Burhan : "it is an established fact from the custom of the 
Companions and the Successors that one of them says: "this verse was revealed in regard to 
this", they meant thereby that this incorporates a certain rule, and not that it is its rc. This 
falls into the category of adjudicating proofs through the verses, and not of transmitting just 
the events as such. 

I said: "That which is documented about rc includes only those verses revealed during 
the period of its occurrence. Which would then exclude Wahidi's assertion that the chapter "/- 
FH was revealed as a result of the Abyssinian's advent with them That was certainly not the 
rc of anything! Rather, this belongs to the category of material relating to historical events. 
Such is the case with the stories relating to Noah's people as well as those of the 'Ad , the 
Thamud, the building of the Ka^bah, etc. Similarly, God's taking of Abraham as a friend in 
the verse: "wa ittakhatha Allah Ibrahim khalil" 22 (4:125) is obviously not one of the reasons 
for the revelation of the Qur'an. 

As mentioned previously the statement of a Companion falls into the category of the 
sound. If it emanates from a Successor then it is also considered sound (marfu) and of the 
mursal category but only if its chain of transmitters is authentic. Some scholars of exegesis 
like Mujahid , Tkrimah and SaTd b. Jubair accept the reports of the Companions or do so by 
corroborating these with other mursal traditions. 
The fifth mas'alah (legal yerdict) 

22 „ 

And God has taken Abraham as a Mend" 


The exegete often mentions multiple rc for a single verse in which case the best way 
of determining the most authentic cause would be to examine the actual expression. If one of 
them expresses himself by saying: "it was revealed because of such and such" and the other 
by saying the same but mentioning a different incident, then as mentioned previously, the 
latter would be considered commentary and not the rc. There would be no contradiction 
between the two views if the wording accommodates them both. An explanation hereof will 
appear in the section seventy eight. 

If one were to say: "it was revealed in regard to such and such", whilst some other 
person asserted a cause that contradicted it, then the latter would be given credence, and the 
former would be considered deductive thinking. An example of this would be Bukhari's 
tradition quoted on the authority of Ibn ^Umar, who said : "the verse "nisa'ukum harthun 
lakum" 23 (2:223) was revealed in regard to sexual intercourse from the back. But as 
mentioned previously the report of Jabir clearly contradicts it. Credence would be given to 
Jabir's report because it is transmitted from Prophet (s) himself, whereas the view of Ibn 
^Umar should be considered law making. He caused Ibn 'Abbas to have doubts, and he thus 
mentioned a tradition similar to that of Jabir, as quoted by Abu Dawud and Hakim. 

If one person mentions a rc and another person mentions something different, then the 
report having a sound chain of transmitters would be given credence. This is exemplified by a 
tradition quoted by Bukhari, Muslim and others on the authority of Jundub, who said that the 
Prophet (s) complained of illness and did not perform voluntary prayers for one night or two. 
A woman came to him and said: "O Muhammad, I see your Satan has abandoned you! Then 
God revealed the verse "wa 1-Dhuha * wa 1-layl itha saja * ma wadda^aka rabbuka wa ma 
qala" 24 (93:l-3). 

Tabarani and Ibn Abu Shaybah quote Hafs b. Maisarah who quotes his mother, who 
quotes her mother-a servant of the Messenger of God-as saying: "a puppy entered the house 
of the Prophet (s), crept under the bed, and died. For four days no revelation came to the 
prophet (s). He then said: "O Khaulah, what's happening in the house of the Messenger of 
God? Angel Gabriel has not come to me? I said to myself : "if only you cleaned and swept 
the house regularly!" I got down with the broom under the bed and removed the puppy . 

23 " your wives are a tilth tor you" 

24 „ 

By the forenoon . By the night when it darkens. Your Lord has neither torsaken you nor hates you" 


Whereupon the Prophet (s) came with his beard trembling; whenever he trembled it was a 
sure sign that revelation was coming to him. God then revealed the verses "wa 1-Duha" until 
the verse "fatarda". 

In the commentary to the work of Bukhari Ibn Hajr says: "the story about Gabriel's 
delay due to the puppy is well known but it being its rc is however far fetched. In its chain of 
transmitters is an unknown person, and so the report which would be considered reliable is 
that which appears in the Sahiih collection. 

Another example is the tradition narrated by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abu Hatim, by way of Ibn 
Abu Hatim, who quotes Ibn 'Abbas as saying: "when the Messenger of God migrated to 
Madinah, God commanded him to face Jerusalem in prayer. The Jews were ecstatic! He did this 
for some ten months or more. He however had a preference for the Abrahamic direction of 
prayer, and would beseech God and look to the skies expectantly. God then revealed: "fa wallu 
wujuhakum shajrah" 25 (2:150). This made the Jews suspicious and so they asked: "what turned 
them from the prayer direction they were on? In response God then revealed the verse " qul li 
Allah l-mashriq wa 1-maghrib" 26 (2: 115) and He said "fa ainama tuwallu fa thamma wajhu 
Allah" 27 (2:115). 

Hakim and others quote Ibn ^Umar as saying: " the verse " fa ainama tuwallu fa thamma 
wajhu Allah" was revealed to allow facing any direction one's mount chose during a voluntary 

Tirmidhi quotes a tradition of ^Amir b. RabiTa, one he deemed weak, in which he said: 
"we were traveling through a dark night and knew not the direction to Mecca. Every man from 
among us then prayed on his own. On awakening the next day, we mentioned this to the 
Prophet (s). So the verse was revealed". Daruqutni quotes a similar tradition from Jabir, with a 
chain of transmitters that is also weak. 

Ibn Jarir quotes Mujahid as saying: "when the verse "ud^uni astajib lakum" 28 (40:60) was 
revealed, people asked: "Where should we turn to? So the verse was revealed. This tradition is 
mursal. And he quotes Qatadah as saying that the Prophet (s) said: "One of your brothers has 

25 "And wheresoever you are, turn your face towards it" 

26 "And to God belong the east and the west" 

27 "So wherever you turn(yourself or your faces) there is the face of God" 

28 "Invoke me (ask me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation)." 


indeed died, so perform the mnera) prayers on him". They replied: "But he did not face the 
qiblah during prayer. So the verse was revealed. This is a nuf d'al and gharib tradition. 

These then are five rc, of which the weakest would be the last one because of its muM'al 
status. Then, the one prior to it would be considered less weak because of its mursal status, 
followed by the one before it because of its weak narrators. The second report is authentic 
except that he said: "it was revealed for such and such" without clarifying the rc. The first 
report's chain of transmitters is authentic one, and in it the rc is clearly mentioned. This then 
makes it dependable. 

Another example is what Ibn Mardawaih and Ibn Abi hatim report by way of Ibn Ishaq, 
Muhammad b. Abu Muhammad, who quotes Tkrimah, or Sald, who quotes Ibn ^Abbas as 
saying: "Umayyah b. Khalaf , Abu Jahl and a group of men of the Quraish came to the Prophet (s) 
and said: "O Muhammad, come seek the blessings of our idols, and we will then accept your 
religion. He longed for their conversion to Islam, and so softened to them. Whereupon, God 
revealed the verse "wa in kadu la yaftinunaka v an allathi auhayna ilayka. . ," 29 (17:73). 

Ibn Mardawaih, by way of 1-Aufi, quotes Ibn "Abbas as saying that Thaqif said to the 
Prophet (s): "give respite to us for one year so that the (tribe) he be guided to our gods. When 
we get hold of that person who have been guided to it, we will saf eguard it then we accept Islam. 
So he intended to give them respite, so the verse was revealed.??? This requires the revelation 
to have taken place in Medina, whereas the first requires it to have taken place in Mecca. Its 
chain of transmitters places it in the hasan category; and with further corroboration in the work 
of Abu Shaikh by way of Sald b. Jubayr it gets elevated it to the sahih category, and is 
considered dependable. 

29 „ 

Yerily, they were about to tempt you away from that which We have revealed unto you" 


The fourth condition is when the chain of transmitters are equally correct in which case 
the one transmitted by the narrator who was actually present will be given preference. One 
example of is the tradition quoted by Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Mas^ud who said: "I was 
walking with the Prophet (s) in Medina-he was doing so reclined on a stick-when he passed by a 
group of Jews. Some of them said: "Why not ask him! They said: "tell us about the soul". He 
stood for a while with his head raised, and I then knew that revelation was coming to him. It 
came to a stop, and he then said: "qul 1-ruh min amr rabbi wa ma Mtum min 1-Tlm illa qalil" 30 

Tirmidhi quotes a tradition he deemed sahih on the authority of Ibn^Abbas, who said: 
"The Quraish said to the Jews: "Give us something to ask this man about. They said: "Ask him 
about the soul." They did so, and God then revealed the verse: "man yashfa* shafif atan . . ," 31 ) 
This requires its revelation to have occurred in Mecca, but the first report contradicts this. It is 
given preference because that which Bukhari narrates is more authentic than others, and because 
Ibn Mas^ud was present at the incident. 

The fifth state is for it to be revealed following two rc in the foregoing categories, on 
condition that the difference not be known, as is the case with the previous verses. So it refers to 
that??? An example of this is Bukhari's report on the authority of Tkrimah who quotes Ibn 
^Abbas as saying that in the presence of the Prophet (s) Hilal b. Ummayyah accused his wife of 
having an affair with Sharik b. Sahma'. In response the Prophet (s)said : "Produce testimony in 
support or punishment will be inflicted on your back". So he said "O Messenger of God! If one 
of us sees a man with his wife, would he go around seeking testimony!" Whereupon the verse " 
wa allathina yarmuna azwajahum. . . in kana min 1- sadiqin" " 32 (24:6) was revealed. 

Bukhari and Muslim report Sahl b. Sa'd as saying: " ^Uwaimir came to ^asim b. 'Adi and 
said: "Ask the Messenger of God, if one man finds another with his wife, and kills him, should 
he then be killed, or what? So ^asim asked the Messenger of God, who censured the questioner. 
"Asim then informed 'Uwaimir and said: "By God, I will personally approach the Messenger of 
God to ask him" Which he did, and was told: "With regard to your predicaement portions of the 

30 "And they ask you concerning the ruh (soul/spirit). Say the spirit is one of the things, the knowledge 
ot which is only with my Lord" 

32 „ 

And tor those who accuse their wives.. 


Qur'an have been revealed. . ." These reports have been reconciled by assuming that though this 
first occurred with Hilal, it however, happened to coincide with the coming of "Uwaymir as well. 
It was thus revealed with regard to both of them. Nawawi inclines to this view but is preceded 
by T-Khatlb who said: "Perhaps coincidentally, this occurs to both at the same time". 

Bazzar quotes Huthaifa as saying that the Messenger of God said to Abu Bakr : "if you 
see a man with Umm Ruman (his wife), what would you do to him?". He said: "I will harm 
him". He then said: "What would you do, O "Umar?" He said: "I will say "God curse the l-a"jaz 
(guilty one) because he is filth. The verse was then revealed. Ibn Hajr said: "Nothing proscribes 
a multiplicity of rc" 

The sixth state, is where this is impossible, in which case it will be ascribed to multiple 
revelations and repetitions. An example would be the tradition quoted by Bukhari and Muslim on 
the authority of Musayyib who said: "The Messenger of God visited Abu Talib whilst he was on 
his death bed and with him were Abu Jahl and "Abd Allah b. Abu Umayyah. So he said: "O 
uncle, say! There is no deity worthy of worship except God, and I will then intercede on your 
behalf with God". Abu Jahl and " Abd Allah said: "O Abu Talib ! Are you renouncing the religion 
of "Abd '1- MuJJallib! They continued speaking to him until he said: "He remains on the religion 
of "Abd '1-MuJJalib". The Prophet (s) then said: "I will continue to seek forgiveness for you as 
long as I'm not prevented from doing so." So the verse : "ma kana li 1-nabi wa allathina amanu 
an yastaghfiru li 1- mushrikin . . ," 33 (9:113) was revealed. 

Tirmidhi quotes tradition-which he deems hasan-with "AK saying: " I heard a man ask 
penance for his parents who were idolaters!" I then said: " you ask penance for your parents 
who were idolaters!", to which he replied: "Abrahim also asked penance for his father who was 
an idolater. So I mentioned this to the Messenger of God, after which the verse was revealed. 

Hakim and others quote Ibn Mas"ud as saying: "The Prophet (s) once went to the 
graveyard and sat at a grave side, in supplication, for long. He then wept, and said : " the grave 
that I was sitting at belongs to my mother, for whose supplication I asked my Lord's permission, 
but He did not do so. The verse "ma kana li 1-nabi wa allathina amanu an yastaghfiru li 1- 
mushrikin" was then revealed to me. We reconcile between these traditions as reports of 
multiple revelations. 

Another example also, is the statement of Abu Huraira as quopted by Baihaqi and Bazzar 

33 „ 

It is not proper tor the Prophet and those who believe to ask God forgiveness tor the idolaters . 


that the Prophet (s) stood at the body of Hamza when he was martyred-and he was mutilated in 
the process-and he said: "I will most certainly mutilate as many as seventy of them instead!" 
And whilst he was still standing Gabriel came down with these last verses of 1-Nahl: "Wa in 
v aqabtum fa 'a^Ibu bi mithli ma v uqibtum bihi . . ," 34 (16:126) 

Tirmidhi and Hakim quote Ubay b. Ka'b as saying" "At the battle of 'Uhud, sixty- four 
Helpers (ansar) and six Migrants (muhajirun) were slain. Amongst them was Hamza who had 
been mutilated. As a result, the Helpers said: "If we overcome them someday in this manner we 
will most certainly we will definitely attack them.??? During the conquest of Mecca however 
God revealed the verse "wa in 'a^abtum . . ." Apparently, the revelation of this verse was 
delayed till the conquest of Mecca. In the previous tradition however, its revelation took place at 
Uhud. Ibn hassar said: "To reconcile these traditions one may aver that because it is considered a 
Meccan revelation, it was first revealed in Mecca before migration, as part of the chapter, then 
secondly at Uhud, and then thirdly, at the conquest of Mecca. These multiple revelations were 
reminders God sent to His servants. To this genre Ibn Kathir added the verses pertaining to the 

4 "And if you punish (your enemy), then punish them with the like ot that which you were 



At times these narrations include the words "then he recited" which the narrator confuses 
for "then was revealed". An example of this is the tradition which Tirmidhi reports-and deems 
sahlh-OYi the authority of Ibn 'Abbas authenticated it - who said: "a Jew passed by the Prophet 
(s) and said: "what will you say O Abu '1-Qasim to God placing the heavens on this, and the 
earths on this; the water on this, and the mountains on this; and the entire creation on this?" God 
then revealed the verse "wa ma qadaru Allah haqq qadrihi. . ," 35 (6:91). The report however, 
appears in the sahiih collection with the words: "then the Prophet recited. . ." This is correct for 
the verse is Meccan. 

Another example is the Bukhari's report which has Anas saying: "On hearing of the 
arrival of the Messenger of Allah Abd Allah b. Salam went to him, and said: "I want to ask you 
of three things, known to none but an apostle: What is the first sign of the Hour? And what is the 
first food of the people of Heaven? And who does the child resemble, his father or his mother? 
He said: "Gabriel just informed me." He said: "Gabriel?". He said yes". He said: "that angel is 
the enemy of the Jews". So he read this verse " man kana 'aduwwan li jibril fa innahu 
nazzalahu ^ala qalbika" 36 (2:97). Ibn Hajr in the commentary of Bukhari said: the context 
indicates that the Prophet (s) simply recited the verse to refute the words of the Jew, which does 
not necessitate its revelation at that time. He said: "this is most reliable view, for narrations 
other than those of Ibn Salam are considered authentic in this regard. 

Contrary to the previous discussion, where one rc is offered to explain multiple verses it 
also occurs that multiple verses are revealed in response to a single event. An example of this 
would be Tirmidhi and Hakim's report quoting Umm Salamah as saying: "O Messenger of God, I 
do not hear God mentioning anything about women and the migration!" In God revealed the 
verse: "fa istajaba lahum rabbuhum anni la udTu . . ," 37 (3:195). 

35 "They did not estimate God with an estimation due to Him. . ." 

36 "Whoever is an enemy ot Gabriel, for indeed he has brought the Qur'an down to your heart" 

" so 1 
the work of any 

37 " so their Lord accepted of them (their supplication and answered them), never will I allow to be lost 


Hakim also quotes her as saying: "O Messenger of God, you speak of men, but not of 
women!" So the verse "inna 1-muslimina wa 1-muslimat" 38 (33:35) and the verse " inni la udTu 
"amala "amil minkum min thakarin au untha"(3:195) were revealed. He also quotes her as saying: 
"Men fight but not women! And we receive no more than half the inheritance! In response God 
revealed: "wa la tatamannau ma fad'd'ala Allah bihi ba"d'ukum "ala ba"d'" and " inna 1-muslimina 
wa 1-muslimat". 

Another example is Bukhari's report on the authority of Zaid b. Thabit that the 
Messenger of God dictated to him: "la yastawi l-qa"iduna min 1-mu'minin. . . wa 1-mujahidun fi 
sabil Allah" 39 (4:95). Ibn Umm Maktum who was blind then approached him and said: "O 
Messenger of God, if only I was able to, I would certainly have done battle In response God 
revealed: "laisa "ala 'l-d\f afa'. . ." 40 (9:91). And Ibn Abu Hatim quotes Zaid b. Thabit as also 
saying: "I used to be the scribe f or the Messenger of God, and had just put my pen behind my ear 
when the call for battle was made. The Prophet was still awaiting revelation when a blind came 
to him and said: "What about me O Messenger of God, seeing that I am blind! Then the verse 
"laisa "ala '1-d'duW. . ." (Tauba 91) 

Another example is the report of Ibn Jarir quoting Ibn " Abbas as saying: "Whilst seated in 
the shade of a room the Messenger of God said: "A man will certainly come looking at you with 
the eyes of the devil.. When a blue man appeared, the Messenger of God called him, and said: 
"why do you and your companions malign me? The man then left and retumed with his 
companions who swore they said no such thing till he eventually forgave them In response 
however the verse "yahliruna bi Allah ma qalu . . ." 41 (9:74) was revealed. Hakim and Ahmad 
report this but with the words "and God then revealed" "yaum yab"athuhum Allah jamran fa 
yahlifuna kama yahlifuna lakum. . . ," 42 (58:18) at the end. 

38 "Verily, the muslim men and women" 

39 "Not equal are those of the believers who sit at home, except those who are disabled, and those 
who strive hard and fight in the cause of God" 

40 "There is no blame on those who are weak " 

41 "They swear by God that they said nothing (bad) " 

42 " on the day when God will resurrect them altogether, then they will swear to Him like how they 
swear to you " 


Ponder over that which I have mentioned in this regard and adhere to it, for I remain 
unsurpassed in compiling and extracting it after much deliberation over the works of the scholars 
and their disparate views. 


Nasikh and Mansukh 

A countless number of scholars have written works on this topic. And these include: Abu 
^Ubaid '1-Qasim b. Sallam, Abu Dawud '1-Sijistani, Abu Ja x far '1-Nahhas, Ibn '1-Anbari, Makki, 
Ibn 'KArabi, and others. The learned elders have said: "No one is allowed to interpret the Book 
of God except after he is thoroughly familiar with verses that abrogate or have been abrogated. 
x Ali once told a judge: "Are you familiar with verses that abrogate or have been abrogated?" The 
judge replied: "No!" x Ali then said: "You ruin yourseh and others!" This section deals with 
several issues. 

First: the word naskh may be used in the following contexts: 
To obliterate as in the verse " . . .but God obliterates that which the devil casts and then 
establishes His verses. . ."(22:52) 

1. To replace, as in the verse: "When We replace one verse with another. .."(16:101) 

2. To change hands, as occurs in matters of succession, where the inheritance changes 
hands from one person to another. 

3. To transcribe from place to place. Thus it is said: "I have transferred the book." that is, "I 
have transcribed its words and its text to another location." Makki maintains that it is 
incorrect to include this category in the Qur'an, and he has strongly criticized '1-Nahhas 
for allowing it. He argued that the abrogator in this case, appears not in the words of the 
abrogated but in words that are different. And '1-Saldi has argued that '1-Nahhas's 
assertion is supported by the verse: "We have been recording what you were 
doing"(45:29); and the verse: "It is indeed, with us, in the Mother of all Books, it is 
exalted and full of wisdom"(43:4) It is well known that that which appears as a summary 
in the Qur'an exists in its entirety in the Well Preserved Tablet, as the Almighty says: "In 
a Book, well preserved; which none but the pure ones may touch. "(56:78-79) 

Second: abrogation which, for many a sound reason, God has made exclusive to this 
community.One such reason is to facilitate things. Whilst all Muslims think this is permissible, 
Jews do not, arguing instead that this portrays God as indecisive, as one who holds one opinion, 
and then changes it. This however, is baseless because abrogation is no more than a sequence of 
events like life after death, sickness, after health, poverty after wealth and vice versa. Now, just 

as none of the foregoing examples can be construed as the results of indecisiveness, so too is the 
case with acts that are first disallowed and subsequently allowed. 

Scholars differ on whether the Qur'an is abrogated by anything other than the Qur'an. 
Some, citing the verse "Those revelations that we abrogate or cause to forget , we replace with 
something better, or at least equal thereto"(2:106) say: "No! Nothing is equal to or better than the 

Other scholars contend that the sunna, given that it too comes from God, can also 
abrogate the Qur'an. God Almighty says: "He speaks not vainly"(53:3) An example of this, one 
which appears hereunder, is the verse dealing with testaments. 

A third view, cited by Ibn Habib '1-Naisapuri in his exegesis, argues that this is 
permissible only if such a sunna is itself a revealed command of God, and not the personal 
judgement of the Prophet (s). '1-Shafil says in this regard: "Whenever the sunna abrogates the 
Qur'an there will always be found another verse from the Qur'an itself in support thereof, and 
wherever the Qur'an abrogates the sunna there will always be found another sunna in support 
thereof. This is to show congruity between the Qur'an and the sunna. I have dealt extensively 
with this topic in my commentary on the work on jurisprudence Mamumat Jam * i-Jawami " 

Third: Abrogation occurs only in verses dealing with commands and prohibitions albeit 
in the form of an report. But this will not apply if the report is not in the form of a demand. In 
this category belong verses that promise and threaten. Having said that, it's obvious that the 
numerous works dealing with abrogation that happen to include the foregoing category of verses 
have no basis. 

Fourth: abrogations comprise of several categories. These include: 

1. The abrogation of an order before its implementation as in the verse dealing with secret 
conversations. This is an actual case of abrogation. 

2. Abrogation of laws that applied to earlier communities. This is the case with the verse 
dealing with retaliation and blood wit. Other examples are of laws that are collectively 
abrogated such as those that changed the direction of prayer from the Bait '1-Maqdis to 
the Ka^ba, and fasting the first 10 days of the month of Muharram. These however, are 
abrogations in a manner of speaking only. 

3. The abrogation of a law based on a particular circumstance which subsequently 

disappears. This is the case with the call to patience and forgiveness during times of 
weakness or numerical disadvantages. This was abrogated when fighting became 
obligatory. In actual fact, this is not a case of abrogation but a case of "being made to 
forget", as God Almighty Himself says in the case of war: ". . .or We cause it to be 
forgotten", that is, the duty to do battle, until Muslims become stronger. During times of 
weakness however, the rule is to forbear in the face of persecution. This then puts paid to 
the arguments claiming that all such verses have been abrogated by the "verse of the 
sword", when in fact, this is not the case. Rather, it belongs to the 'made to forget' 
category, to which belongs every order that is meant to be executed whenever the 
circumstances so demand, but which gets moved elsewhere when those same 
circumstances are changed. This is not abrogation, because abrogation effaces a ruling 
and makes its subsequent application illegal. Makki thus points out that in the view of 
some scholars verses such as: "Forgive and overlook till God brings forward His 
decree."(2:109) should be considered qualified and not abrogated, because they allude to 
the deferment of time or purpose. And that which has been deferred to some future time 
is not abrogated. 
Fifth, some scholars have classified the chapters in the Qur'an with regard to abrogation, 

in the following categories: 

• 43 chapters that contain no verse that abrogates or is abrogated. They are: '1-Fatiha, 
Yusuf, Yasin, '1-Hujarat, '1-Rahman, 'l-Hadld, '1-Saff, 'l-JunuTa/l-Tahrim, '1-Mulk, '1- 
Haqqa, Nuh, '1-Jinn, '1-Mursalat, x Amma,'l-Nazi x at, '1-Infi|ar, and the three thereatter, '1- 
Fajr, and the chapters that follow till the end of the Qur'an, except for 'KAsr, '1-TIn, and 

• 25 chapters that contain verses that abrogate or have been abrogated. They are: '1- 
Baqara, and the three chapters that follow, '1-Hajj, '1-Nur, and the two that follow,'l- 
Ahzab, Sab', '1-Mu'min, Shura, '1-Dhariyat, '1-Tur, '1-Waqi^a, '1-Mujadila, '1- 
Muzzammil, '1-Muddaththir, Kuwwirat, 'KAsr. 

• 6 chapters that contain only versesthat abrogate: '1-Fath, '1-Hashr, '1-Munafiqun, '1- 

Taghabun, '1-Talaq, '1-ATa. The remaining 40 chapters only contain verses that have 
been abrogated. This view is objectionable on grounds that will be discussed hereunder. 
Sixth, Makki says that the verses that abrogate may be classitied in the following order: 

I. An ordinance that abrogates another ordinance, such that it is no longer permissible to act 
upon the latter. An example is the law prescribing the imprisonment of a fornicator which 
is abrogated by the ordinance of Aogging. 

II. An ordinance that abrogates another ordinance such that it is still permissible to act upon 
the latter. Such as is the case with the verse prescribing the exercise of patience (instead 
of fighting against the pagans). 

III. An ordinance that abrogates an act such as fighting, which at first was optional and later 
became obligatory. 

IV. An optional act that abrogates an ordinance such as the night prayer which was abrogated 
by the order to recite, in the verse: "Recite of the Qur'an whatever comes easy"(73:20) 
Seventh: Abrogation in the Qur'an appears in three forms: 

a-Verses whose recitation and ordinance is abrogated. The Shaikhan (Buhkari and Muslim) 
report that x A'isha said: "Initially 10 separate suckings were required (to establish parentage 
between the baby and the wet nurse) but this was abrogated (by the verse stipulating) 5 suckings. 
At the death of the Prophet (s) the verse continued to be recited as part of the Qur'an/ There has 
been talk about the statement "...continued to be recited.." for apparently, it implies that the verse 
is still recited, whilst it is not. One explanation is that the abrogation occurred just prior to the 
death of the Prophet (s). Another, is that at the time the recitation too was abrogated except that 
this had not quite reached all people until after the death of the Prophet (s). Thus, he died and 
there were still people around who recited the verse. Abu Musa '1-Asff ari said: "It was revealed 
and later removed." Makki said: "This is an example, the only one I know of, where both the 
verse abrogated and the verse abrogating are not recited" 

b-Verses whose ordinances have been abrogated but not their recitations: Much has been written 
in this category, and people have included herein many verses, even though the actual number 

'Muslim Sahlh hadith # 1402 

of verses are few indeed. The more meticulous scholars such as the judge, Abu Bakr b. 'KArabi 
have explained and confirmed this. I maintain that the material that the former group included 
may be classified as follows: 

• Verses that are neither abrogated nor qualified, and have no connection to these 
categories whatsoever. This is true for verses such as: ". . .and spend of that which We 
gave them"(2:l) and ". . .spend of that which We have given you"(2:254) which some say 
have been abrogated by the verse that prescribed zakat. But this is not the case. The first 
verse in fact is a report showcasing charity which may allude to zakat, to spending on the 
family, or to other praiseworthy acts such as hospitality or providing aid. Nothing in the 
verse seems to point to spending other than zakat which might be compulsory. The 
second verse, as indeed some have explained, may allude to the payment of zakat Some 
consider the verse: "Is not God the most decisive of all judges."(95:8) to be abrogated by 
the "verse of the sword", but this is not so, because God Almighty is forever the most 
decisive of judges. This statement cannot support abrogation even though it implies an 
order to leave matters to God and to forgo retaliation. Some consider the verse ". . .and 
speak kindly to people"(2:83) abrogated but Ibn Hassar considered this incorrect, arguing 
instead that it is an account of the pledge taken from the Children of Israel; it is merely a 
report and not an abrogation. Now apply the same logic to the other verse as well. 

• Verses that qualify rather than abrogate: Ibn ^Arabi has performed a superb task in 
recording such verses, including the following: "Man is indeed at a loss; except those 
who believe. . ."(103:2-3); "As for the poets, only those in error follow them. Do you see 
how they stumble in every valley, and how they speak about what they know not~except 
for those who believe. . ."(2:224-227); "forgive and overlook, till God brings forward His 
decree"(2:109) These, and other such verse that are qualified by clauses of exception or 
objective have been wrongly itemized as abrogations. The verse: "Wed not idolatresses 
until they believe. . ."(2:221) for example, is said to have been abrogated by the verse ". . 
.and virtuous women of those who received the Book."(5:5)when in fact it has only been 

• Verses that abrogate those customs and conventions of early Islam that do not appear in 

the Qur'an, Pre-Islamic Arabia, or the laws of the earlier communities. Thus the verse 
invalidating marriage with step mothers, is one such example, as are the verses 
prescribing requital or blood money for injuries incurred, and restricting divorce 
pronouncements to three. The inclusion of such verses in the abrogation category might 
be appropriate, but as Makki and others besides him countenance, it is even more 
appropriate that they be excluded therefrom They explain that if the forgoing verses are 
included in the abrogation category then the same can be said for the entire Qur'an, 
because it lifts most, if not all the practices common to the disbelievers and the people of 
the Book.. Furthermore, abrogation correctly speaking, only occurs when one verse of the 
Qur'an abrogates another." Yes, it does seem that the third of these categories, the lifting 
of early Islamic practices makes more sense than the other two. If therefore, we contend 
that the verse to take up arms does not abrogate the verses of 'forgiveness and 
generosity', then most of the verses that have been lumped into this category will be 
excluded. Of that which appropriately falls into this category only a small number 
remain. In a separate work I have discussed this particular topic; hereunder I provide a 
concise synopsis of these verses. 


• The statement of the Almighty "It is prescribed upon you when death comes to one of 

you. .."(2:180) is said to abrogated by the verse of succession. or by the tradition: "Hear! 
There is no testament in favor of an heir!" or as Ibn ^Arabi has said, by way of consensus. 
And according to some the statement of the Almighty ". . .and those who have the ability 
(but choose not to) must pay a ransom "(2:184) has been abrogated by the verse: ". . .and 
whosoever is present, let him fast the month. . ."(2:185) But others hold that it is still 
binding, because of the implied presence of 'la 'in the former verse. The verse "It is 
permissible for you to cohabit with your wives during the nights of the fast. . ."(2:187) 
abrogates the verse " . . .as it was prescribed upon those before you. . ."(2:183) because 
compliance with the latter verse would require that they comply fully with every 
regulation that they complied with. This would include the prohibition of eating, and 
maintaining sexual contact at night. Ibn 'KArabl reports, this view as well as another 

which states that the verse was abrogated by the sunna. Ibn Jarir reports on the authority 
of x Aja' b. Maysara that the verse: "They ask you about the sacred months. . ."(2:217) is 
abrogated by the verse: and ". . .and wage war, altogether, on the pagans..."(9:36); The 
verses: "Those of you who die. . .". . .provisions for a year. . ."(2:240) is abrogated by the 
verse: ". . .four months and ten days. . ."(2:234) Testamentary distribution has been 
abrogated by the laws of inheritance, whilst the need to provide accommodation some 
maintain has been abrogated by the hadlth "there need not be accommodation", whilst 
others say that it is still binding. The verse: ". . .and whether you openly declare what is 
on your minds or conceal it God will bring you to account for it."(2:284) has been 
abrogated by "And God burdens not any soul beyond its capacity. . ."(2:286); 
Al ^lmran 

• Whilst some say that the verse ". . .and be conscious of God to the full extent possible 
"(3:102); is abrogated by the verse ". . .and be conscious of God the best you can. . 
."(64:16), others maintain that it is still binding. Apart from this verse no other in this 
chapter can be claimed to have been abrogated. 


• The verse ". . .and give to those you have made the pledge to their due measure. .."(4:33) 
is abrogated by "and some of the blood relatives are closer to each other than others, by 
God's decree. . ."(8:75) Some say that the verse ".. .and if they attend the distribution. . 
."(4:8) has been abrogated whilst others say no: people have simply neglected to apply it. 
The verse: "as for those women who indulged in promiscuous acts. . ."(4:15) is abrogated 
by the verse that appears in the chapter '1-Nur. 


• The verse: ". . .nor the sacred months. . ."(5:2) is abrogated by the injunction permitting 
battle therein. The verse: "If then, they come to you judge between them or disclaim 
jurisdiction"(5:42) is abrogated by "Now therefore, judge between them in light of that 
which God hath revealed. .."(5:49) The verse ". . .or two others besides you. . ."(5:106) is 
abrogated by "And let two just persons from among you bear testimony"(65:2) 


• The verse ". . .if there be of you twenty, steadfast. . ."(8:65) has been abrogated by the 
verse that follows. 


• The verse "Set out, armed lightly or heavily. . . "(9:41)is abrogated by the following 
verses that mention the excuses: "There is no blame on the blind. . ."(24:61); "there is no 
blame on the weak ones. . ."(9:91); and the verse: "Not all believers should go out to 
fight. . ."(9:122) 


• The Almighty's statement: "An adulterer shall marry only an adulteress. . ."(24:3) is 
abrogated by the verse: "And marry the single person from among you"(24:32)And some 
say that the verse: "Let your slaves seek your permission. . ."(24:58) is abrogated while 
others maintain that people have neglected to apply it. 


• The verse: "UnlawM to you are women. . ."(33:52) is abrogated by "We have made 
lawful for you your wives"(33:33) 


• The statement of the Almighty: "When consulting the Prophet (s). . ."(58:12) is abrogated 
by the verse that follows. 


• And some say that the verse: "And grant to those whose wives have left the like of what 
they have spent"(60:ll) has been abrogated by the "verse of the sword". Others say it is 
abrogated by the verse of 'the spoils of war' and others still, maintain that it is still 



• The verse "Keep vigil all night except for a part thereof. . ."(73:2) is said to be abrogated 

by the end of the chapter, which in turn is abrogated by the five daily prayers. 
These twenty one verses, give or take a few, are the ones that have been abrogated; no 
acceptable claim for the remaining verses' abrogation can be made. This number drops to 19 
however if, as is correct, the verse requiring permission to enter and the verse of distribution of 
inheritance are considered binding. Add to this the view of Ibn ^Abbas that the verse: "Wherever 
you turn there is the countenance of God." is abrogated by: "So turn your face in the direction of 
Sacred Mosque" and the number goes up to twenty. I have arranged these verses into the 
following verse form: 

People exaggerate the number of abrogations and add thereto countless verses 

this is a tally of them, twenty all told, no more as penned by scholars, wise and old 

the verse of direction, which way to face, and the need for a testament when death cometh 

when not to eat, and cohabit after sleep and the penalty for not fasting despite ability 

the call to fear God as behooves Him, the ban on fighting disbelievers in the sacred months 

the bequest for widows, a year of waiting and that man is accountable for his thoughts 

the verse of oath, detaining iornicators, rejecting the disbeliever's testimony, and to 


being armed for battle lightly or heavily Barring from marriage, male and female 


the Chosen One is not restricted in marriage paying the mahr to those who have come 

Approaching the Prophet Similarly, the one on the Night Prayer 

Also, the servant's need for permission and giving to those present for the distribution 

What is the use of maintaining the recitation of a verse that is no longer enforceable?" 
some ask. To this question there are two answers. Firstly, inasmuch as the Qur'an is consulted to 

determine rules and its performance, so too is it recited as God's words filled with rewards for 
those who simply recite it. Thus the recitation has remained. Secondly, seeing that abrogation in 
most cases is meant to ease hardship Muslims are reminded, by the retention of such verses, of 
the many bounties bestowed on them and the hardships that have been removed. As for the 
abrogation of pre-Islamic practices or the laws of other divine systems, or in early Islam, these 
are few in number. In the book mentioned earlier I have recorded examples of the various cases 
of abrogation including: facing towards Jerusalem which was abrogated by the verse of the 
qibla, and the fast of *ashura'by the fast of Ramadan 

Some scholars have said that in all cases except the following two the abrogating verse 
appears before the abrogated: these verses are the verse of the waiting period that appears in '1- 
Baqara, and the verse: "Unlawful to you are women. . ."(33:52) which was examined previously. 
Others have added a third: the 'spoils of war' verse in chapter '1-Hashr said to have been 
abrogated by the verse: "Know that whatever spoils of war you capture. . ."(8:41) Some have 
added a fourth: "Show clemency. . ."(7:199)that is, by taking only the surplus of their 
possessions. This is according to those who believe that it has been abrogated by the verse 
ordaining zakat. Ibn 'KArabl has said: "All verses in the Qur'an advocating tolerance, clemency, 
and the avoidance of war with disbelievers has been abrogated by this 'verse of the sword' This 
verse: "And when the sacred months have passed fight the pagans. . ."(9:5) which abrogated 114 
other verses was itself abrogated by its 2 nd half. Reference to this has already been made. He also 
said: "How unusual a verse "Show clemency " is: whilst its first part ('Show clemency")and last 
part (and steer clear of the ignorant) are abrogated, its middle (and enjoin the good) is not." He 
also said: "Also unusual and unique is a verse whose first section is abrogated by its second 
section. The verse is: "Be concerned with your selves only! He who deviates cannot harm you, if 
you are steadfast."(5:105) and the reference is to being steadfast in enjoining the good and 
censuring wrong. This then abrogates the call to be concerned with yourselves. 

'1-Saldi has said: "No abrogated verse has remained in force for as long as the verse: 
"Say! I am not a novelty among Prophets. . ."(46:9) which had remained in force for 16 years 
until its abrogation by the opening verse of the chapter,'l-Fath, in the year of Hudaibiya 


With regard to the verse: ". . .and they feed the indigent because of their love for Him. . ." 
(76:8) Hibat Allah b. Salama '1-Darir maintained that the words '. . .and the prisoners of war" 
which refers to the prisoners from among the pagans, were abrogated. Once, however, when that 
section was recited to him in the presence of his daughter she remarked: "O! Father! You have 
erred!" He asked: Why?" She replied: "Muslims are unanimous in their view that a prisoner must 
be fed and cannot be killed through starvation." He replied "You are correct." 

Shaidhala in his work '1-Burhan said: "It does happen that the verse that abrogates is itself 
abrogated. An example is the verse: "Unto you is your religion and unto me, my religion."(109:6) 
which was abrogated by the verse: ". . .fight the pagans. . ."(9:5). This verse in turn, was 
abrogated by ". . .until they pay the exemption tax."(9:29) This however, is questionable for two 
reasons: firstly, because of what was alluded to previously, and secondly, because the verse: ". . 
.until they pay the exemption tax"(9:29) qualifies the verse, but does not abrogate it. A more 
appropriate example however, is the last verse of the chapter, '1-Muzzammil, which not only 
abrogates the beginning of the chapter but is abrogated itself by the verse that ordains the five 
daily prayers. Also, the verse "Set out, armed lightly or heavily"(9:41) abrogates the verse that 
ordains restraint, but is abrogated by the verse that sets out the valid excuses for not participating 

Abu ^Ubaid reports that '1-Hasan and Abu Maisara said: "No verse of the chapter '1- 
Mif ida has been abrogated, but this is problematic given the statement of Ibn ^Abbas in the work 
i-Mustadrak "that the verse: "Judge between them or disclaim jurisdiction"(5:42) is abrogated by 
the verse "So, judge between them in light of that which God had revealed"(5:49) 

Abu ^Ubaid and others report from Ibn ^Abbas that the first verse to be abrogated in the 
Qur'an dealt with the direction of prayer. In his section on abrogations Abu Dawud quotes Ibn 
^Abbas through another source, as saying: "The first verse to be abrogated in the Quran dealt 
with the direction of prayer, followed by the first type of fasting." "In light of this" Makki 
concludes "no Meccan verse was abrogated." But, the fact is that abrogation of several of its 
verses has occurred, such as the statement of the Almighty: ". . .while the angels sing the praises 
of their Lord and seek forgiveness for those who believe."(:7) which is said to be abrogated by ". 
. .and seek forgiveness for those on earth"(25:5)" I believe that an even better example is the 


abrogating verse of the night vigil in the chapter '1-Muzzammil, by its concluding verse, or the 
ordainment of the five daily prayers; and there is unanimity that both these events took place in 

Ibn '1-Hassar said: "To establish abrogation references must be obtained irom the Prophet 
(s) himself or from some Companion saying "Verse so and so has abrogated verse so and so." At 
times it is needed to reconcile a clear conflict in history, to know that is, what came first, and 
what later." He said: "in matters pertaining to abrogation it is not permissible to seek recourse in 
the views of the run of the mill exegetes, or even to such rulings of the jurists, as are not 
corroborated by textual sources, in cases where there is no clear contradiction. This is because 
abrogation seeks to overturn a rule established by the Prophet (s) himself or to establish one 
where previously there was none. The authority for such action must be textual evidence or 
history, and not rational arguments. 

In this regard there are two opposing views: the conservative view argues that even sound 
ahad traditions are not acceptable, and the liberal view accepts the rulings of the exegetes and 
the jurists. The correct view goes against both these views. 

c-Verses whose recitations have been abrogated but not their ordinance. Some have asked: 
"What purpose does the abrogation of the recitation and not the ordinance serve? And would it 
not have been more rewarding if the recitation of the verse had remained and been in 
consonance with the ordinance? The author of the work 1-Funun replied: "This serves to 
express the speed at which this community complies with a divine command, without seeking 
definitive sources in the case of an ordinance that may even be presumptive. They hasten to obey 
as did Abraham when called upon, to slaughter his son, in a dream~and the latter by all 
accounts, is the weakest form of revelation." Examples of this genre of abrogation are many. 

Abu ^Ubaid said: "IsnuTil b. Ibrahlm reported to us, from Ayyub, from Nafi\ from Ibn 
"Umar, who said: 'None of you should say that he has full knowledge of the Qur'an; how could 
he know what full knowledge is! So much of the Qur'an has passed him by! Let him say instead: 
'I have taken of the Qur'an that which was present." 


He also said: "Ibn Abu Maryam reported to us from Ibn Lahfa, from Abu '1-Aswad, from 
"Urwa b. '1-Zubair, that A'isha said: "During the time of the Prophet (s) two hundred verses of 
the chapter '1-Ahzab were recited but when compiling the Qur'an ^Uthman was only able to 
collect what now exists." 

He also said: Ismall b. Ja x far reported to us from '1-Mubarak b. Fudala, from ^Asim b. 
Abu '1-Nujud, from Zirr b. Hubaish who said: "'Ubayy b. Ka^b told me: 'How many verses do 
you count in the chapter '1-Ahzab? I said: '72 or 73 verses.' He said: At one time it had as many 
verses as '1-Baqara, including the verse on stoning which we used to recite.' I said: "What is the 
verse of stoning?' He said: 'If a married man or woman fornicates, stone them without hesitation; 
a fitting punishment from God. God is Mighty, and all Wise.' 

He also said: " x Abd Allah b.Salih reported to us, from '1-Laith, from Khalid b. Yazld, 
from Sald b. Abu Hilal, from Marwan b. ^Uthman, from Abu Umama b. Sahl who said that his 
aunt said: 'The Prophet (s) recited the verse of stoning to us: A married man or woman should 
be stoned, without hesitation, for having given in to lust.' 

He also said: "Hajjaj reported to us from Ibn Juraij that: 'Ibn Abu Humaid informed me 
from Humaida b. Abu Yunus, who said: At the age of 80 my father recited to me, out of the 
mushaf of x A'isha: "Verily God and His angels send salutations to the Prophet. O! Ye who 
believe! Send salutations and greetings to him; and to those who pray in the first row.' This was 
before ^Uthman altered the Scripture." 

He also said: " x Abd Allah b. Salih reported to us, from Hisham b. Sa x d, from Zayd b. 
Aslam, from x Aja' b. Yasar, from Abu Waqid '1-Laithi who said that "The Prophet (s) as a rule 
would come teach us any revelation he received. One day he came to us and said: 'God says: 'We 
have sent down provisions for the establishment of prayer and the institution of zakat. The son of 
Adam however, if given one valley's worth of wealth, would lust for a second, and if given a 
second he would lust for a third; nothing would fill his belly (to his satisfaction) except the dust 
of the grave. But God does forgive all who turn to him." 

'1-Hakim reports in the work i-Mustadrak , from Ubayy b. Ka^b who said that the 
Prophet (s) told him: 'God has ordered me to recite to you the Qur'an.' So he recited: "Those who 
disbelieve from among the people of the Book and the pagans were not. . ." (98:1) The rest of the 


recitation included: " If, on asking, the son of Adam was to be given one valley's worth of wealth 
he would lust for a second, and if on asking, he was to be given a second he would lust for a 
third; nothing would fill his belly (to his satisfaction) except the dust of the grave. But God does 
forgive all who turn to him. True f aith with God is that of the Hanifiyya, not that of Judaism or 
Christianity. And whosoever does any good will not have it denied." 

Abu ^Ubaid said: Hajjaj informed us, from Hammad b. Salama, from x Ali b. Zaid, from 
Abu Harb b. Abu '1-Aswad, that Abu Musa 'l-\Asrf ari said: "A chapter resembling Bara'a was 
revealed and then removed except for the following verse: 'God will assist this religion even 
with a community that is good for nothing, And if the son of Adam possessed two valley's worth 
of wealth he would lust for a third; nothing would fill his belly (to his satisfaction) except the 
dust of the grave. But God does forgive all who turn to him." 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports that Abu Musa 'l-\Asrf ari said: "We used to recite a chapter that 
we compared to the musabbihat, 2 but we were made to forget it, except for one verse which I 
memorized: 'O! Ye who believe! Speak not of that upon which you act not, lest it be recorded 
against you, and you be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection." 

Abu ^Ubaid said: "Hajjaj informed us from Srnf ba, from , '1-Hakam b. ^Utaiba, from 
^Adiyy b. ^Adiyy who said that "Umar said: "We used to recite: "Do not loath your parents for 
this on your part, is a form of disbelief." He then turned to Zaid b. Thabit and said: 'Is this so?' 
He replied: 'Yes'. 

He also said: Ibn Abu Maryam informed us, from Naff b. "Umar '1-Jumahi who said: 'Ibn 
Abu Mulaika informed me, from Miswar b. Makhrama who said: '"Umar said to x Abd '1-Rahman 
b. x Auf: "I have been unable to find a verse revealed to us "Strive now, as you have in the past.' 
Do you know of its whereabouts?' He replied: "It was effaced along with everything else that 
was effaced from the Qur'an. 

He also said: "Ibn Abu Maryam informed us, from Abu LahTa, from Yazid b. x Amr '1- 
Mu x afiri , from Abu Sufyan '1-Kalal, that Maslama b. Makhlad '1-Ansari one day said to him: 
"Iniorm me of the two verses of the Qur'an that do not form part of the present text. Those 


present, including Abu '1-Kunud Sa x d b. Malik, were unable to inform him.. Maslama then said: 
Those who believe, migrate, and strive in the path of God with their possessions and their lives: 
Be ye joyful; you are the successful ones. As for those who protected and assisted them, and on 
their behalf, confronted those people who earned God's wrath, for them is a gratifying reward 
about which no soul knows a thing. This is a reward for the way they acted." 

'1-Tabarani reports in the work 'l-Kablr that Ibn "Umar said: "Two men used to recite a 
chapter taught to them by the Prophet (s). One night they awoke to pray only to find that they 
were unable to recall even one letter of that chapter. The next morning they went to the Prophet 
(s) to inform him of what had transpired. He said: 'It is of those parts o f the Qur'an that have 
been abrogated, so ignore it." 

The sahihain collection contains a report of Anas pertaining to the well of Ma^una group 
who were murdered and against whose murderers he had invoked the qunut prayer. Anas said: 
the following verse was revealed in regard to them, and we continued to recite it until it was 
lifted: "and inform our people that we have indeed met our Lord; He is pleased with us and we 
are pleased with Him." 

The 'l-Mustadrak contains a report from Hudhaifa where he says: "Of the chapter '1- 
Bara'a you recite but one quarter." 

'1-Husain b. '1-Munadi in his work i-Nasikh wa i-Mansukh said: "of the material that was 
removed from the Qur'an but not from memory are the two chapters of the qunut supplications 
that are recited in the witr prayer; they were named i-KhaVa and i-Hafd. 

The judge, Abu Bakr reports in the work i-Intisar that some scholars deny the occurrence 
of the foregoing category of abrogation because they are based on ahad traditions. It is not 
permissible, they say, to make definitive pronouncements about the revelation or the abrogation 
of the Qur'an based on ahad traditions. 

Abu Bakr '1-Razi maintains that: "the abrogation of the text as well as the recitation does 
occur when God makes them forget about it, and through His removal of it from their minds, He 
commands them to avoid reciting or writing it in the Holy Book. In time it gets relegated to the 
status of the other heavenly books that He speaks of in the verse: "All of this is in the earlier 


scriptures, the scriptures of Ibrahlm and Musa." (: 18-19) Nothing is known of them today. This 
does not preclude its existence during the life of the Prophet (s), until his death, when it ceases to 
be recited. Or it may have been recited after his death except that God caused people to forget 
them and removed it from their consciousness. But it is not permissible for abrogation to take 
place after the death of the Prophet (s)." 

And in the work i-Burhan he commented on x Umar's statement vis-a-vis the 'verse of 
stoning', namely: 'Only the fear that people would say that "Umar has added to the Book' 
prevented me from including it in the Book of God". He x said: "It appears that the inclusion of 
the verse in the Qur'an was permissible, and only the people's objections stopped him. Thus it 
sometimes happens that something inherently permissible is blocked by extraneous factors. It is 
the nature of the written word that if it is permissible then it must of necessity be corroborated. 

But it has been said in response that if the recitation of the said verse was permissible 
then "Umar, the people's objections notwithstanding, would have hastened to include it, because 
the mere sayings of people is not an acceptable impediment. In any case, this line of thought is 
problematic to say the least. Perhaps "Umar reasoned that the report was based on no more than 
an ahad tradition, which was not sufficient to establish the authenticity of the Qur'an, even if the 
ordinance may be so established. And it is for this reason that Ibn Zufr refused to count this 
verse in his work, i-Yanbu as material that had been abrogated. He said: "An ahad tradition is 
not sufficient to establish the authenticity of any part of the Qur'an." He said: "This in fact, is one 
of those 'made to forget' verses and not an abrogation." He went on to say that "these two have a 
tendency to be confused, but the difference is that the words of a 'made to forget' verse is 
forgotten, whilst the rule remains." 

But the statement that "Umar reasoned that this was an ahad tradition is to be rejected 
because it has been authentically established that he received this directly from the Prophet (s) 
himself. '1-Hakim reports by way of Kathlr b. Salt who said: "Zaid b. Thabit and Sald b. '1-As 
who used to record the Qur'an, came across this verse, and Zaid said: "I heard the Prophet (s) 
say: "If a married man or woman fornicates, stone them without hesitation" "Umar then said: 
"When it was revealed I approached the Prophet (s) and said: Must I write this down?" But he 
seemed to dislike that. Do you now see why an old unmarried man guilty of fornication is 


whipped whilst a married young man guilty of fornication is stoned." 

In the work Sharh 'l-Minhaj Ibn Hajr says: "We learn from this tradition the reason for 
the abrogation of its recitation: the practice is actually contrary to the literal interpretation of its 
general meaning." It occurred to me that the above was done with a view to lessening the burden 
of reciting and writing in the Qur'an what is a rather difficult, and severe rule, and a harsh 
punishment, even though that law still applies. It also points to the virtue of concealing ills of 
this nature. 

'1-Nasa'I reports that Marwan b. '1-Hakam once said to Zaid b. Thabit: "Why don't you 
include this verse in the Qur'an?" He replied: "Have you seen two young married people being 
stoned! Anyway, we did mention this, and "Umar said: O! Messenger of God! "Allow me to 
write it?" He said: "You cannot!" By saying "uktub \T he meant 'allow me to write it' or 
'empower me to do so'. 

Ibn 'l-Darls reports a tradition in the work Fada\\ 'l-Qur 'an from Yala b. Hakim from 
Zaid b. Aslam that "Umar addressed the people and said: "Do not have doubts about the rule of 
stoning for it is the truth. I was tempted to write it into the Qur'an and consulted Ubayy b. Ka^b 
who said: "Did you not come to me when I was still studying it with the Prophet (s). You then hit 
me on the chest and said: "You study the verse of stoning whilst they cohabit with each other 
like donkeys do." Ibn Hajr said this was an allusion to the fact that the recitation was removed 
because of controversy. 

Ibn '1-Hassar said: "In light of this it may be asked: "How did abrogation occur without a 
replacement, when God in fact says: 'Those revelations that we abrogate or cause to forget , we 
replace with something better, or at least equal thereto"(2:106) And this material has no 
substitute! In reply it may be said that everything that presently appears in the Qur'an and is not 
abrogated is a replacement for material whose recitation has been abrogated. Everything in the 
Qur'an, that we know of, that God abrogated, He replaced by what he taught us, by what has 
come to us, in word and meaning, through tawatur sources." 


The DeAection ( 1-ImMah), the 'a'Consonant ( 1-FatA), and that which is in Between. 

A group of Reciters singled out this topic for publication; included among them is Ibn 
1-Qasih, author of the work Qurrat 1-^Ain fil-Fath wa 1-ImMah wa mabayna l-lafzain. 

1-Dani said: The 'a' Consonant and the Declension are two dialects common to the 
language of those eloquent Arabs in whose dialect the Qur'an was revealed. The use of the 
Consonant is the dialect of the people of Hijaz while the Declension is the dialect of the 
majority of the people of the Najd region, including the Tamim , the Asad, and the Qais 
tribes. He said: "The authority for this recitation is the marfu" tradition of Huzaifa which 
states: "recite the Qur'an in the strains and sounds of the Arabs, and avoid the sounds of 
sinners, and the People of the two Books". He said: "Declension without doubt, belongs to 
the seven modes of recitation, and to the strains and the sounds of the Arabs." 1 

Abu Bakr b. Abu Shaibah said: "WaqF narrated to us, on the authority of 1-A'mash, 
from Ibrahim, who said: "In their recitations they considered the letters alif andya to be 
similar. He went on to say that by alif andya is meant their emphasis (tafkhim) and their 

And in the work Tarikh 1-Qurra' he quotes Abu " Asim 1-Darir 1-Kufi who quotes 
Muhammad b. "Abd Allah, who quotes "Asim, who quotes Zirr b. "Hubaish as saying: A 
man once recited the verse fa ha without the kasrah in the presence of "Abd Allah b. Mas"ud. 
"Abd Allah b. Mas^ud then recited the verse as /7h7with the kasrah on both letters. But the 
man again recited fa ha without the kasrah. So "Abd Allah b. Mas"ud again recited /7h7with 
the kasrah on both letters. The man again recited fa ha without the kasrah. So "Abd Allah b. 
Mas"ud recited /7h7with the kasrah and said: "Thus did the Messenger of God (s) teach 
me". Ibn 1-Jazari said: "this tradition falls into the category of gharĔ) , and we know it only 
in this form. Its narrators however, are sound, except for Muhammad b. "Ubaid Allah, the 
"Azrami, who is considered weak by the scholars of hadith. He was however, a pious man 
who lost his written material and was thus reduced to quoting from memory. He was thus 

I would add: This tradition of his appears in the exegesis of Ibn Mardawaih with the 
addition "Thus did Gabriel bring it down" at the end. 

And in the work JamM 1-Qurra 'Safwan b. "Assal is reported to have heard the 

1 This particular tradition is used by John Wansbrough in Quranic Studies: Sources and methods of Critical 
Interpretation New York, 2004, p.104, as part of his discussion on the Koran as lingua sacra. 

Messenger of God (s) recite: Ya Yahye " . He was then told: "O Messenger of God, you 
decline even though this is not the dialect of the Quraish?" So he said: "it is however, the 
dialect of its maternal branch, the Banu Sa^ad." 

Ibn Ashtah quotes Abu Hatim, as saying: "the Kufans justify declensions by pointing 
to various places in the Qur'an where the ya'appears in place of the alif. They reproduced 
the same written form, and declined so that the alif closely resembles the letterya. 

1-ImMa refers to the act of bending the sound of the fatha in the direction of the 
kasra, and more often, the alif in the direction of the ya. This is the pure f orm of the 
declension. Less well known names given thereto include l-id)a, l-bafh and 1-kasr. It is a 
sound that falls between two letters which is also called7-taq/i7, 7-ta//if, and bayna bayn. It 
is of two kinds: The Intense (shadidah) and the Intermediate (mutawassiph) , and they may 
both be used in recitation. When the Intense form is used then the total declension of the alif 
to the ya v (qalb) should be avoided; and so too, the excessive lengthening of vowels. The 
Intermediate sound falls between the 'a' consonant and the intense declension. 

1-Dani has said: "our scholars differ as to the best and the most superior of these two. 
I choose the Intermediate declension which is in between. This is because the objective of the 
declension is achieved thereby; and it serves as an indication that the origin of the alif is the 
ya, and brings attention to its occasional change to aya in certain places or to its melding 
with an adjoining kasra orya . 

As for the 'a' consonant, it is formed with the reciter opens his mouth to pronounce a 
letter. It is also called l-tafkhM. And it too falls into the category of the Intense and the 
Intermediate. For the Intense form the reciter will open his mouth widely; but this is not 
permissible in the case of the Qur'an — it is in fact, non-existent in the Arabic language. The 
Intermediate form falls between the Intense 'a' and the Intermediate Declension. 1-Dani said: 
"this is the form used by the pro-declension reciters. 

Differences exist as to the declension being a branch of the 'a' consonant or to them 
being independent. Reasons given for the first view are that the Declension is always with 
cause: If it is absent then the 'a' consonant becomes necessary. But if it does exist, then both 
the 'a' consonant as well as the declension forms of recitation are permissible. But for every 
word that is declined, there exists among Arabs a similar word that is recited with the 'a' 
consonant. The 'a' consonant's frequent usage points to it being the original and to the 
declension being a branch thereof . 

The discussion in regard to the declension assumes five forms: Its causes; forms, its 
uses, those who apply declension; and that which is declined. 

As for its causes, reciters mention ten, which Ibn 1-Jazari says hinge on two factors: 
The first is the kasra, and the second, the ya. Each of these letters appear either before or after 
the place of declension. At times it is assumed to exist in the place of declension itself . It 
might also be that neither the kasra nor the ya exist in the word, nor are they assumed to be in 
the place of the declension, but they are posited nonetheless, in some word inflections. At 
times the alif and the fatha may be declined due to some other alifor fatha., in which case it 
will be called: A declension because of a declension ( 1-Imala li ajl li 1-Imala). At other times 
the alif is declined to mimic another declined alif . 

Ibn 1-Jazari has said: "Declension also occurs because of repetitive usage, and to 
distinguish between the noun and the particle. This would then bring the causes to twelve. 

As for the declension brought about by a preceding kasra, it is conditional on there 
being but a single letter in between, such as the alifin kitab and hisab. This gap is in respect 
of the alif As for the declined fatha there are no gaps between it and the kasra - or between 
two letters in which the first is govemed by a sukun, e.g. insan, or between two fathas in 
which the second letter is the ha because of its obscurity. 

As for the preceding ya , it is either connected to the alife.g. 1-hayat and 1-ayami, or 
separated by two letters of which one is the hae.g. yadaha 

As for the kasra that follows, the same rule would apply whether it is permanent e.g. 
"Abid or temporary, e.g. min 1-nas and fil-nar. As for the ya that comes afterwards, one 
example would be the word mabayi \ And as f or the imputed kasra , one example would be 
the word khafa because originally it was khawifa. As for the imputedya e.g. yakhsha, 1- 
huda, aba and 1-thara. In all such cases the alif has been changed from a ya, and the 
preceding letter has been given a fatha. 

And the same applies to theya'in words such as faba,ja'a , sha'a and zada because 
the first letter of the root word (fa) gets a kasra along with the pronoun having a voweled 

The same applies to the temporary ya as in tala and ghaza because their alif has been 
substituted f or the waw. It has been declined because of its change to a ya as in the words 
tuliya and ghuziya. 

As for the declension because of another declension, this is exemplified by T-KisaTs 
declension of the nun after the alifin the verse inna li Allah because of the Declension of the 

alif in li Allah . He did not however, decline the words wa inna ilayha because of its absence 
thereafter. Similarly, he has declined 1-dhuha , l-qura dhuhaha and talaha. 

As for the declension because of resemblance, an example thereof is found in the 
feminine alifin 1-husna and the alifoi Musa and "Isa; this because they resemble the alif in 
the word 1-hudi. 

As for the declension due to repetitive usage, according to the author of the work 1- 
Mubhij, an example thereof is the word 1-nas as recited in three places. 

As for the declension due to the difference of the noun and particle, example thereof 
are the opening letters of the various chapters. And as Sibawaih has said: "Included therein 
are the letters ba and ta of the alphabet because they are the names of the sounds made 
thereby, as opposed to particles such as ma , la , etc. 

As for its methods, these are four, all of which hinge on the foregoing causes. Its 
bases are two: affinity and intimation. As for Affinity (1-munasabah ) it comprises of a 
single category which is that which is declined for reasons inherent in the word itself, and 
which is declined because of some other declension. Their objective was to have the action of 
the tongue and the adjoining pronunciation of the declined letter to be from the same place 
and to follow the same form. 

As for Intimation (1-Ish^ar), it comprises of three categories: The intimation of the base 
word, the intimation of the word in some places, and intimation because of resemblance to 
the base word. 

As for its uses, it serves to facilitate pronunciation. This is because the tongue in the 
consonantal mode is elevated, and through declension is lowered. Lowering is easier on the 
tongue than elevating. This is why some decline. And those who maintain pronunciation in 
the 'a' mode, do so because the consonant is the base and because it is stronger. 

As for those who decline, all ten the reciters belong to this category, except Ibn Kathir 
who does not decline a thing in all of the Qur'an. As for what is declined, this is exhaustively 
discussed in the books of recitals and in those works dedicated to discussing the declension. 
We mention hereunder some rules: 

Hamza, 1-Kisa'i and Khalaf decline every alif found in the Qur'an that has been 
transmuted from aya, be it in a noun or a verb. Examples include: 1-huda, 1-hawa, l-fata, 1- 
"ama, l-.iina, ata, aba, sa" a,yakhsha, yad'a, ijtaba, ishtara, mathwa, ma "wa,adna and azka. 

They also decline every feminine alifon the scales fula, filaor fa 1a such as in the 
words luba, bushra, quswa, l-qurba, 1-untha, 1-dunya, ihda, thikra, sMa dJia, mouta, 

marda, 1-salwa andl-taqwa. Included herein are the words Musa, Isa and Yahya. 

They also decline words on the scale fua\a or fa^ala such as sukara, kusala, usara, 
yatama, nasara and 1-ayama. 

And words in the Qur'an that are written with aya, e.g., bala, mataya asafa,ya 
waylata, ya hasrata, anna (the interrogative particle). Excluded are the following: hatta, ila, 
^ala, lada and mazaka; these will not be declined at all. Likewise, they decline letters having 
the waw whose first letter has a kasra or a dhmma e.g. riba wherever it occurs, 1-dhuha 
whatever form it takes. l-quwa and 1-^ula. 

They decline the opening letters of eleven chapters. These take the forms: faha, wa 
1-najm , sa'ala , l-qiyamah, wa l-nszVat, ^abasa , 1-ala, wa 1-shams, wa 1-lail , wa 1- 
duha and 1- ^a\aq. Abu v Amr and Warsh concur with regard to these chapters. 

Abu v Amr declines every word having a ra followed by the alif , in every scale it 
appears. Examples include: thikra, bushra, asra, arahu, ishtara,yara, l-qura, 1-nasara, usara 
and sukara. It conforms with the alifon the scale of fu 1a wherever it comes.??? 

Abu v Amr and 1-Kisa'i decline every word in which an alif followed by the letter ra 
appears, whether that happens to be at the ends, or in the genitive form. Examples include: 1- 
dar, 1-nar, l-qahhar, l-ghaffar, 1-nahar, 1-diyar, l-kuffar, 1-abkar, bi qinfar, absaru hum, 
ouwbariha, ash^ariha and himarika. This would be the case whether the alif is or is not a 
root letter. 

Hamza declines the alif of the middle radical of the f olowing ten verbs in the perf ect 
tense: zada, sha'a ,ja'a , khaba , rana , khafa , zagha , faba , daqa and haqa where and how it 

1-Kisa'i declines the haoi femininity and the letter before it into an unqualified pause 
when appearing after fifteen letters which are combined in the acronym "fajathat Zaynab 
lathud shams ". These are: the fa, in the words as in khalifa and ra fah; the jim as in walijah 
and lujjah; the tha as in thalatha and khabithah; the ta , as in baghtatan and 1-maytah; the 
za as in barizah anda*izzah; the ya as in 2hashyah and shabah ; thenwiasin sunnah and 
jannah; the ba as in habbah and 1-taubah ; the lam as in laylah and thullah; the thal as in 
laththa and l-mauquthah; the waw as in qaswah and 1-marwah the dal as in baldah and 
Iddah ; the shin as in l-fahishah and ^ishah ; the mim as in rahmah and nfmah, the sin as 
in 1-khamisa and khamsah. 

He maintains the 'a' consonant as is when it appears after the following ten letters: ja 
^a , letters of 1-istila'i.e. (Qaf fa kha sad dhad ghayn fa~), the remaining 4 letters i.e. (Alifkaf 

hara). If a aya with a sukun appears in front or a kasra that is joined or un-joined with a 
vowel-less letter then too declension will occur. If that is not the case then it will be read as a 
normal consonant. 

There remain some letters that are in dispute or require further explanation. 
Furthermore there are no rules that govern these letters. They may be found in the works 
relevant to this field. 

And with regard to the opening letter of the various chapters: Hamza, 1-Kisa'i, 
Khalaf , Abu v Amr, Ibn v Amir and Abu Bakr decline the verse Alif lam Ra in the five 
chapters. Warsh opts for the recital in between 

Abu v Amr, 1-Kisa'i and Abu Bakr decline the ha in the opening words of the chapters 
Maryam and JaHa. 

Hamza and Khalaf decline the opening letters of Ja Ha but not Maryam. 

Apart from Abu Amr those who decline the alif lam ra, also decline the ya at the 
beginning of Maryam . And the first three in addition to Abu Bakr decline the ya at the 
beginning of Yasrn. 

These four also decline the /a of JaHa , {asim mm\ , fasm and the Moi hamim in 
the seven Ha Mim chapters. Ibn Thakwan concurs with them in regard to the ha. 

Some scholars have reservations about the Declension in light of the tradition "the 
Qur'an was revealed to be recited with fullness (tafkhim)". Several responses have been 
given to this. 

1. That whilst the first revelations were so governed, later declensions were absolved of 
this rule. 

2. That it means that the recitals be conducted in the voice of the male. The voice should 
therefore, not be lowered to that of women. 

3. That it means that such verses were meant to express harshness and severity towards 
pagans. But the author of the work Jamal 1-Qura' has said that this explanation is 
farfetched, because verses meant to express mercy and compassion are also govemed 
by this tradition. 

4. That it means that the Qur'an be recited with dignity and reverence. In other words, it 
should be glorified and revered. He thus encourages this sort of recital in order to 
glorify and dignify the Qur'an. 

5. That hillness means placing a vowel in the middle of the word. This 

would require that disputed words be given a d'amma and a kasra but not the pause 
(sukuh) because the damma and the kasra confer such words with a certain loftiness 
and richness. 

1-Dani has said: "Thus was it explained by Ibn 'Abbas." He then said: "Ibn Khaqan 
narrated to us, as did Ahmad b. Muhammad, as did "Ali b. 'Abd l-^A/i/, as did T- 
Qasim that he heard 1-Kisa'i quote Salman who quotes '1-Zuhri as saying: "Ibn 
^Abbas said: "the Qur'an has been sent down to be recited with heaviness and 
fullness, as is the case with the word 1-jumu^ah, and so on. This he cited as an 
example of heaviness. He then quoted the tradition of Hakim on the authority of Zayd 
b. Thabit which states: "the Qur'an was revealed to be recited with fullness." 
Muhammad b. Muqatil , one of the narrators said: "I heard 'Ammar say that the verses 

" ^uthran au nuthran ' 2 (77:6) and " l-sadafayn" 3 (18:96)must be recited by placing a vowel in 

the middle. 

He said: "This is supported by Abu 'Ubaydah^ assertion that the people of 1-Hijaz 

recited everything except the word ^Ashrah with hillness; the latter they recited with a sukun. 

The people of the Najd however, omit fullness except the word, ^ashirah to which they give 

the sukun. 

1-Dani said: "this view is preferable as an explanation of the tradition. 

2 "To cut off all excuses or to warn" 

"He filled the gap between the two mountains" 

Rhetorical Devices of the Qur'an 

Ibn Abu '1-Isbi' devoted a separate work to this topic, and mentioned therein some one 
hundred different rhetorical devices. They include: 

'1-Majaz (Tropes), '1-Isti'ara (Metaphors), 'l-Tashblh (Metonyms), '1-Kinaya (Allegories), '1-Irdaf 
(Synonyms), '1-Tamthil (Illustrations), '1-Ijaz (Brevity), '1-Ittisa" (Equivocality), '1-Ishara 
(Intimation), 'l-Musawat(Equivalence), '1-BasJ (Exposition), '1-Ighal (Hyperbole), '1-Tatmim 
(Effectuation), '1-Takmil (Completion), '1-Ihtiras (Precaution), '1-Istiqsa' (Investigation), '1- 
Tadhyil (Appendix), '1-Ziyadat (amplification) '1-Tardid (Reiteration), '1-Takrar (Repetition), '1- 
Tafsir (Commentary), '1-Id'ah (Elucidation), Nafyu '1-Shay bi Ijabihl (Affirmation by Negation), 
'1-Madhhab '1-KalamI (Rhetorical Style), '1-Qaul '1-Mujib (Formal Expression), '1-Munaqad'a 
(Contradiction), '1-Intiqal (Transition), '1-Isjal (Writing), '1-Taslim (Delivery), '1-Tamkin 
(Establishment), 'l-Taushlh (Composition), 'l-Tashlm (Arrangement), Radd 'KUjz x ala '1-Sadr 
(Reversal of Conditions ), Tashabuh '1-A^raf (Comparable Endings), Luzum ma la Yalzimu 
(Requiring that which is not Required), '1-Takhyir (Choice), '1-TasjT (Rhymed Prose), '1-Tasrf 
(Hastening), '1-Iham (Double Entendre), '1-Istikhdam (Employment), 'l-Iltifat(Sudden 
Transition), 'l-I^irad (Sequence), '1-Insijam (Fluidity), '1-Idmaj (Insertion), '1-Iftinan (Multi 
Faceted Speech), '1-Iqtidar (Mastery), I'tilaf '1-Lafz ma^a '1-Lafz (Conformity of Words to 
Words), I'tilaf '1-Lafz ma x a '1-Ma x na (Conformity of Words to Meanings), '1-Istidrak 
(Emendation), '1-Istithna' (Exception), Ta'kid '1-Madh bima yushbihu '1-Dhamm (Stressing 
Praise Through Rebuke), '1-Takhwif wa '1-Taghayur (Frightening and Indifference), '1-Taqsim 
(Arranging), '1-Tadbij (Embellishment), '1-Tankit (Extraction), '1-Tad'min (Ellipses), '1-Jinas 
(Assonance), Janf u '1-Mu'talaf wa '1-Mukhtalaf (Combining the Similar and the Dissimilar), 
Husn '1-Nasaq (Symmetry), Ttab '1-Mar'i Nafsahu (Self Criticism), 'l- x Aks (Inversion), '1- 
'Unwan (Title), '1-Fara'id (Rarities), '1-Qasam (Oath), '1-Mubalagha (Hyperbole), '1-Mui:abaqa 
(Antithesis), '1-Muqabala (Contrast), '1-Muwaraba (Concealment), 'l-MurajVa (Recollection), '1- 
Nazaha (Purity), 'l-IbdiF (Creative Writing), '1-Muqarana (Comparions), Husn '1-Ibtida' (Stylized 
Beginnings), Husn '1-Khitam (Stylized Endings), Husn '1-Takhallus (Stylized Delivery), and '1- 
Istijrad (Digression). 

Rhetorical devices ranging from the Trope all the way to the Elucidation have already 
been discussed in separate sections. Some others, such as , the Intimation( 1-ta V/d), the 

Interwoven ( i-ihtibak), the Contentment (i-Iktifa), the Multi Faceted ExaminationC i-Tard wa i- 
^Aks) have been discussed together with the sections on Brevity and Prolixity. 

Then there is Negation through Affirmation (Nafy i-Shay bi Ijabihl), which was 
examined in the section prior to the one above. Rhetorical Style ( i-Madhhab i-Kalaml) and five 
other devices which follow were examined in the section on Argumentation, along with some 
additional sections. Establishment ( i-Tamk!h)and the eight section thereafter will be examined 
together with the Endings. Stylized Delivery (husn i-takhallus) and Digression( i-Istiprad), will 
be examined in the section on Correlations. And Stylized Beginnings (husn i-Ibtida) and 
Stylized Endings(Bczr<Fat i-Khitam) will appear in the sections on Openings and Closings. 

Hereunder, I present the remainder, together with rare supplementary information not 
found together, in a single work, other than the one at hand. 
Deception or Double Entendre ( t-ham) 

The Deception or Double Entendre ( i-tauriyat) is to use a word with two meanings 
concurrently, or in tandem with each. Such meanings are either literal or metaphorical, with one 
being immediate and the other, more distant to comprehension; that it is the latter meaning which 
is intended is implied by the former, more immediate meaning. Because of this, the listener too, 
harbors doubts, from the very outset. 

Zamakhshari has said that no section in Rhetoric is more subtle, and more refined than 
the double entendre, and none more useful and helpful in conveying the meaning of the 
allegorical speech of God and His Messenger. He said: "One example is the word istiwa'in the 
verse: "'1-Rahman 'ala 'Karsh istawa" 1 ^^) which may mean being fixed to a given place. This, 
the more direct meaning, is implied, but not intended, because the Almighty is absolved of all 
such attributes. The word may also mean that He controls, and possesses. This, the more remote 
meaning is in fact intended here, despite being more remote, and obscured by the more direct 
meaning." This form of the tauriyat, is called simple, because the means of correlating and the 
source of the correlation are not mentioned. 

Another form of the Tauriyat is known as the Signified (murashshaha) and herein some 
intrinsic quality of one or the other correlates is mentioned. Thus, in the verse: "wa '1-sama'a 

lr 'The Beneficent is seated on the Throne" 

banainaha bi ayd" 2 (51:47) the word ayd may allude to the limbs. In this case the latter would be 
the means of correlating. One of its intrinsic qualities is alluded to through mention of the act of 
construction. But the word also alludes to omnipotence and power, which is what is intended 

Another example, furnished by Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" in his work 'l-Vjaz shows that the word '/- 
dhlal in the verse: "qalu ta Allahi innaka lafl dalalika 'l-qadim" 3 (12:95) implies being blinded 
by love, and being misguided. The Children of Jacob are then used in antithesis to guidance as a 
double entendre for love. 

And in the verse: "fa '1-yaum nunajjlka bi badanika" 4 (10:92) the word badan, when 
interpreted as "coat of mail", would also refer to the human body. Here, it is the more remote, 
human body, which is intended. 

2 "The Heavens we built with Our Hands." 

3 "They said: "By God! You remain lost in the madness of your old age." 

4 "And on this day We shall deliver your corpse." 

He said: "Another example is the verse which appears after: "wa la'in 'ataita alladhlna 
'utu '1-kitab bi kulli ayat ma tabf u qiblataka; wa ma anta bi tabi'in qiblatahum" 5 (2:145) In the 
latter reference is made to the Jews and Christians from among the People of the Book. Moses 
was addressed from the westerly direction which then became the prayer direction for Jews; for 
Christians it was the east, and for Muslims it was in the middle, in between these two directions. 
But this does not mean that the word wasaf in the verse: "wa kadhalika jValnakum ummat 
wasai:an" 6 (2:143) means middle. It actually means best. On face value however, it may mean 
middle, especially in light of the prayer direction for Muslims. Both these interpretations are 
plausible because the word wasaf carries both these meanings. But it is the more distant 
meaning, best, which is intended here. Thus this verse also exemplifies the double entendre. I 
maintain however that it exemplifies the murashshaha form because of its accompaniment, the 
verse: "li takunu shuhada'a x ala 'l-nas" 7 (2:143) It is their fairness-which is the source of the 
correlation-that qualifies them to bear witness. The examples prior to this verse belong to the 
category of the simple double entendre. 

Another example is the verse: "wa '1-najm wa '1-shajar yasjudan" 8 (55:6)The word najm 
applies to the stars-as is signified by its correlates, the sun and the moon- and to herbs as well. It 
is this more distant meaning which is the intent of the verse. 

And from the writings of the Shaikh '1-Islam Ibn Hajar I have recorded that the following 
statement of the Almighty in the Qur'an is a double entendre: "wa ma arsalnaka illa kaffatan li '1- 
nas" 9 (34:28) The word kaffat means preventer, and thus one who prevents them from disbelief 
and iniquity. The letter ha'serves to emphasize. This meaning is far removed, whereas the more 
direct meaning is inclusion. But applying the latter is proscribed by the fact that the emphasis 
appears after its object. And just as one may not say: ra 'aitu jamfan 'l-nas one may similarly, 

5 "Even if you were to furnish the People of the Book with all the signs, they would not 
follow your directions; nor are you to follow their directions." 

6 "Thus have We made you a middle most community." 

7 "To serve as witness for mankind." 

8 The star and the trees both prostrate." 

9 "And We have not sent you except to all of mankind. . ." 

not say ra 'aitu kaffat i-nas. 
Service ( t-Istikhdam) 

The tauriyat and the istikhdam together, are considered the most eminent forms of good 
style. Some have in fact preferred the latter over the former. They have defined it in two ways: 
Firstly, as interpreted by Sakaki and his followers. it is to use a word having multiple meanings 
in one sense, and to then use its pronoun in another sense. Secondly, it is to use a word having 
combined meanings, and to then use two other words, each having one of the former's combined 
meanings. This is the interpretation of Badr '1-DIn b. Malik which appears in the work i-Misbah 
and is confirmed by Ibn Abu '1-Isbi\ He exemplifies this through the verse: "li kulli 'ajal kitab" 10 
(13:38) Here the term kitab means both a preordained term as well as the written word. Now the 
term ajal serves the first meaning and the term yamhu serves the second meaning. Another 
scholar used the verse: "la taqrabu '1-salat wa antum sukara" n (4:43) where the term salat refers 
to both the act as well as to the place of its performance. Whilst the verse: "hatta talamu ma 
taqulun" 12 (16:l) elucidates the first meaning, the verse: "illa ^abirl sabiilin" 13 (4:43) elucidates the 
second. It is said that in no place in the Qur'an does SakakTs definition appear. I must say 
however, that after some thought, I was able to isolate some verses that fit his definition, 
including the verse: "ata amr Allah" 14 (16:1) The words amrAUah refers to the Last Hour, to its 
punishment, and to the ministry of the Apostie (s). This last mentioned may be implied. Ibn 
Mardawaih reports on the authority of '1-Dahhak, that Ibn ^Abbas said: "ata amr Allah" refers to 
Muhammad. But a pronoun substituting ior the same noun in the verse fa latasta^jiluhu "refers 
instead to the Last Hour and its punishment. A more graphic example is the word insan in the 
verse: "wa laqad khalaqna '1-insan min sulalat min pn" which refers to Adam. But the pronoun 
in "Thumma jValnahu nui:fat fi qarar makin" 15 (23:12,13) refers to his son. 

10 "And for every matter there is an ordainment." 

11,1 And approach not the daily prayer whilst intoxicated." 

12 ". . .until you are aware of what you say." 

13,1 . . .except when passing through." 

14 "God's decree is sure to pass." 

15 "We have indeed, created man from extract of clay, and then We kept him firmly 

Another example is the verse: la tas'alu x an ashya'a in tubda lakum tasu'kum" followed 
by "Qad sa'alaha qaum min qablikum" 16 (5:101,102) This last must refer to other things because 
the previous people had not asked the very same questions that the Companions had asked. But 
they too were f orbidden to ask. 
Sudden Transition ( ( L-Iltifat) 

This is to transmit one form of speech as some other. I mean thereby the shift in form 
when expressing something in the first person to the second or the third, and so on. This is a 
popular definition. '1-Sakaki has said: "It is either that, or it is to use one form in cases where 
convention requires the use of some other. It has many uses, of which one is to freshen the 
discourse, and to spare the listener annoyance and boredom. This is required given the heart's 
love of variety, and the monotony and boredom of repetition. These then, are its general benefits. 
Each context however, is unique in some regards and, as we will explain, each has its own 
peculiarities based on its location. 

One example is the transition from the first to the second person, which serves to 
stimulate the listener, and grab his attention. It is as if the speaker has turned his attention to him, 
and given him special consideration by so doing. For example, the verse: "wa ma liya la a^budu 
alladhi tajaranl wa ilaihi turjVun"(36:22) would conventionally have been: wa ilaihi arjVu. But 
the shift from the first to the second person serves to shift the discourse itself from the speaker 
reproaching himself, to him reproaching his people. But this is done with a certain kindness and 
compassion that convinces them that their well being is as important to him as his very own. 
This shift also makes him the instrument through which fear is put in them, and they are invited 
to God Almighty. 

ensconced in the form of a fertilized ovum. 

16 "Ask not of things which when divulged to you may prove harmful to you. . .a people 
prior to you had asked about it. . ." 

For these reasons they included this verse into the category of iltifat. But this is 
debatable, because one requirement for such an inclusion is that information about himseh be 
part of both verses, which is not the case here. After all, it may well be that in using turja *uh he 
means the addressees and not himself. But in response it may be said that if this was the case 
then using the negative interrogative in the verse would have been incorrect, for the servant's 
return to his master is not contingent on others, besides this returning servant, worshiping Him. 
The meaning therefore is: "How can I not worship one unto whom is my return! The shift from 
wa ilaihi arjVa to wa ilaihi turja^uh takes place because he is part of them. Another useful 
purpose is to notify them that like them he too is compelled to worship the One unto whom is 
their return. Another example is: "wa 'umirna li nuslima li rabb 'l-alamln" 17 (6:71) and "wa an 
'aqlmu '1-salat" 18 (6:72) 

17,1 And we've been ordered to surrender to the Lord of all the worlds." 
18,1 And to establish daily prayer." 

An example of the transition from the first to the third person is the verse: "inna fatahna 
laka fathan mubinan; li yaghfira laka Allah" 19 (48:l,2) which, conventionally, would have read: li 
naghfira laka. The point here is to explain to the listener that this is the speaker's style and that 
he is the target, in person or second hand. The language, mrthermore, is devoid of all such 
embellishments and pretensions which appear in one's presence, but disappear in one's absence. 
Another example is the verse: "inna a^ainaka '1-kauthar; fa salli li rabbika " 20 (108:71) which 
conventionally, would have read: lana. Another example is the verse: "amran min Indina inna 
kunna mursahn; rahmat min rabbika" 21 (44:5) which would have read: minna. Or the verse: "inni 
rasul Allah ilaikum jamfan. . . fa aminu bi Allah wa rasulihi" 22 (7:158) which would have read: 
wa bl This shift occurred for two reasons: firstly, to reject any accusations of bigotry on his part, 
and secondly, as a warning to them that it is legitimate to follow him in light of the attributes and 
peculiarities just recited. 

The transition from the second to the first person occurs in the verse "fa iqd'i ma anta 
qad'in" 23 followed by: "Inna amanna bi rabbina" 24 (20:72,73) This example is inappropriate 
because iltifat requires that its object be singular. 

19 "For you have We laid open a clear cut victory; so that God may forgive you." 

20 "We have indeed, given you plenitude; now therefore pray to your lord." 

21 "A command from Us; We are the ones who dispatch messengers; as a mercy from your 

22 "I am the Messenger of God, sent to you, collectively. . .so believe therefore, in God 
and His Messenger." 

23 "So decree whatever it is you would want to decree." 

24 "We do believe in our Lord." 

The transition from the second to the third person occurs in the verse: "hatta idha kuntum 
fi 'l-fulk wa jaraina bihim" 25 (10:22) which, conventionally, would have read bikum. The shift 
from the second person, and the imputing of their condition to others occurs in order to show 
amazement at their disbelief and their behavior. If he continued to speak in the second person 
then this benefit would have been lost. Another view is that in light of the verse: "huwa alladhl 
yusayyirukum fi '1-barr wa 'l-bahr" 26 (10:22) those addressed in the first place were believing, as 
well as disbelieving, men. If therefore, the words wajaraina bikum were used then all such men 
would have suffered rebuke. It thus shifts from the general statement to the specific, from the 
first part of the verse, that is, to the last, in order to restrict such attributes specifically to those 
who appear at the end of the verse. 

I must say that I have seen some of the pious ancestors follow the opposite perspective, 
which is to consider the first part of the discourse specific and the last part general. In this 
respect Ibn Abu Hatim reports x Abd '1-Rahman b. Zaid b. Aslam as saying that the verse: "hatta 
idha kuntum fi 'l-fulk wa jaraina bihim" 27 (10:22) first speaks about them, then about others 
besides them. It does not say wajaraina bikum because the intent was to bring them together 
with the others and to set sail with them and with creatures. These are his words. How splendid 
was the ability of the pious ancestors to seize upon such subtle interpretations to which their 
successors had devoted their entire lives, and enormous amounts of time, and still missed the 

Another more mystical explanation is that they were indeed, mentally present when 
setting sail, and were therefore, addressed as such. The fear of being devastated and of being 
overcome by the winds is what forced them to focus mentally on the journey. But when the 
winds blew in harmony with the sailing ships, and when they felt safe, that mental presence 
disappeared. It is quite common for people to become unmindful of God when feeling safe. Thus 
when they became unmindful as well, God addressed them in the third person. 

25,1 . . .when you are in the ship and they set off with them." 
26 "He it is who moves you about on the sea and on land." 
27 When you were in the ship, and they sail with them." 

Other examples are: "wa ma ataitum min zakat turiduna wajh Allah fa 'ula'ika hum '1- 
mud' x ifun" 28 (30:39); "wa karraha ilaikum 'l-kufr wa 'l-fusuq wa 'Kisyan; 'ulaika hum '1- 
rashidun" 29 (49:7). The verse: "udkhulu '1-jannat antum wa azwajukum tuhbarun; yu^afu 
^alaihim" 30 would have read alaihim But in the verse that follows: "Wa antum flha 
khalidun" 31 (43:70) this transition is reversed. 

An example of the transition from the third to the first person is the verse: "Allah alladhi 
yursil '1-riyah fa tuthiru sahaban fa suqnahu" 32 (55:48) and the verse: "wa auha fi kull sama' 
amraha wa zayyanna. . ." 33 (41:12) The verse: "subhan alladhi asra bi ^abdihi" until ". . . barakna 
haulahu li nuriyahu min ayatina" 34 shifts from the third to the first person, and then back to the 
first person, with the words: "Innahu huwa '1-sami' 'l-basir" 35 (103:l) Hassan's recitation indicates 
further shifts: liyuriyahu in the third person, indicates a second shift from barakna, ayatina 
indicates a third shift, and innahu a fourth. Zamakhshari said: "In such verses the object is to 
stress that He alone is omnipotent, and not controlled by any other force." 

The following verses exemplify transitions from the third to the second person: "wa qalu 
ittakhadha '1-rahman waladan laqad ji'tum shay'an iddan" 36 (19:89); "a lam yarau kam ahlakna 

28 "And whatever you give in the f orm of Zakat, seeking thereby only the countenance of 
God, such people's rewards will be multiplied." 

29 "And has made hateful to you disbelief, iniquity and sinfulness; they indeed, are the 
successM ones." 

30 "Enter Paradise, you and your spouses, in happiness; passed out to them. . ." 

31 "And you will reside therein forever." 

32 "It is God who dispatches the winds which raise clouds; and we drive them. . ." 

33,1 And He revealed its destiny in every sky; and We embellished. . ." 

34 "Glory be to Him who took His servant. . . We blessed its surroundings to show him 
our signs. 

35 "He is indeed, all hearing, all seeing." 

36 "And they say that the Beneficent has taken a son; you have indeed come up with 
something heinous." 

min qablihim min qarn makkannahum fi '1-ard' ma lam numakkin lakum" 37 (6:6); "wa saqahum 
rabbuhum sharaban Jahuran; inna hadha kana lakum jaza'an" 38 (76:21,22); and "in arada '1- 
nabiyyu an yastankihaha; khalisatan laka" 39 (33:50) 

37 "Do they not look upon the multitudes of people before them they We destroyed; We 
settled them on earth in a manner that not even you We settled." 

38 "And their Lord will sustain them with a drink, most pure; This indeed, for you is a 


If the Apostle decides to marry her; solely for you. 

And to this distinctive collection belongs the Opening Chapter. The servant who 
remembers God Almighty alone, and those Divine qualities which fill him with irrepressible 
urges to turn to Him, qualities such as those in the verse: "maliki yaum 'l-dln" 40 (l:3) which 
proclaim His total mastery on the Day of Requital, is then overwhelmed by an uncontrollable 
desire to address the possessor of such attributes and to seek His help exclusively, in all matters 
of great concern to him. 

It is also said that usage of the third person with hamd and the second with Ibada 
implies that extolling is less meritorious than worshiping. One's equals after all, may be extolled, 
but not worshiped. To therefore, show reverence befitting the lofty status of the addressee, words 
which imply praise were used in the third person and words which imply worship in the second. 

Similarly, the verse "alladhina an^amta ^alaihim" at the end of the chapter explicitly 
identifies the Bestower and ascribes this bestowal to Him. Which is why it does not say: sirat '/- 
mun Im ^alaihim. But the words pertaining to wrath avoid direct reference to Him, and are not 
ascribed to Him. They make no reference to the bearer of this anger, and thus, say not: ghair 
alladhiha ghadabta ^alaihim . And this is to avoid ascribing anger to Him whilst addressing him. 

Extolling the Real One and attributing powerM qualities such as Lord of the worlds, the 
Beneficent, the MerciM, and Master of the Day of Judgement to Him, serves to link knowledge 
with the act of knowing someone possessing such a lofty personality. He, to the exclusion of all 
others, is alone worthy of worship and supplication. He is addressed thus to distinguish Him with 
attributes that magnify His loftiness. It is tantamount to saying: "You alone, You who possess 
these attributes, do we single out for worship, and ask of. None other! 

40 "Master of the Day of Judgement" 

Another noteworthy point mentioned is that His creatures, in the beginning, are at a 
distance from the Gloritied, the Almighty, unable to be in His presence, and to address Him, shut 
out by the veil of His Glory, that which separates them from Him. When however, they become 
aware of Him, and grow closer to Him by extolling Him, and confirming praises for Him, and 
worship Him as befits Him, they qualify to address and beseech Him. This is when they say: 
"iyyaka na^bud wa iyyaka nastaln" 41 (l:5) 

1. That the pronoun of the object towards which there is a shift also refer to the objects from 
which such a shift had taken place is one prerequisite of the transition. If this is not 
maintained then constructions such anta sadiqi would also be considered sudden 

2. And as explained by the author of the work i-Kashshaf and others, also conditional to the 
Transition is that it occur over two sentences. If this is not maintained then the statement 
would be deemed 'peculiar". 

3. Tanukhi in the work i-Aqsa i-QarĔ> , as well as Ibn Athlr and others have spoken of a 
rare form of the sudden transition, where, after addressing the subject of a verb or using it 
in the first person, the verb is then rendered passive. This is the case with the verb 
an^amta in the verse: "ghair '1-maghdub ^alaihim" (1:5) which, conventionally, would 
have read: ghair alladhina ghadabta ^alaihim. "The author of the work ^Arus i-Afrah has 
suspended judgement on this issue.' 

4. Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" has said: "One form of the sudden transition which appears in the Qur'an, 
is rare enough for me not to have encountered it anywhere in poetry. It is when the 
speaker presents two related ideas in sequence, by first presenting the first idea, and then 
shifting midstream, to the second, only to return eventually, to the first. An example is 
the verse: "inna '1-insan li rabbihi lakanud; wa innahu x ala dhalika la shahid" 42 (100:6,7) 
where the discussion shifts midstream from man to his Lord, Almighty, and then, through 

41 "Thee alone, do we worship, and Thee alone do we beseech." 

42 "Man is indeed, ungrateful to his Sustainer; and He is indeed, witness to that." 

the verse: "wa innahu li hubb '1-khair la shadid" 43 (100:8) it shifts again, from his Lord 
Almighty, to man. He said: "This genre may appropriately be called the sudden transition 
of the pronouns." 


And he is indeed, passionate in his love for the good. 

5. Tanukhl and Ibn '1-AthTr suggest that transitions from the singular, the dual or the plural 
to some other form closely resemble the sudden transition. There are six such types. The 
verse: "qalu 'a ji'tana li talfitana 'amma wajadna "alaih aba'ana wa takunu lakuma '1- 
kibriya' fi 'l-ard'"(10:78) exemplifies the transition from the singular to the dual. The 
verse: "ya ayyuha '1-nabiyy idha Jallaqtum 'l-nisa' 44 (65:l) exemplifies the shift to the 
plural. The two verses that follow exemplify shifts to the dual: "fa man rabbukuma ya 
Musa" 45 (20:49) and "fa la yukhrijannakuma min '1-jannat fa tashqa" 46 (20:117). The verse: 
"wa auhaina ila Musa wa akhihi an tabawwa'a li qaumikuma bi misr buyutan wa rf alu 
buyutakum qiblat" 47 (10:87) exemplifies the shift to the plural. And the verse: "wa aqimu 
'1-salat wa bashshir 'l-mu'minin" 48 (10:87) exemplifies the shift from the plural to the 
singular. The following verse exemplifies a shift from the plural to the dual: "ya ma^shar 
'1-jinn wa '1-ins in istaja'tum. . .fa bi 'ayyi ala'i rabbikuma tukadhdhiban" 49 (55:33,34) 
Similar to this is the transition from the past, the present, or the imperative tense to some 
other. Examples of the transition from the past to the present are: "wa Allah alladhi arsala 
'1-riyah fa tuthir" 50 (35:9); "kharra min '1-sama' fa takhtafuhu '1-Jair" 51 (22:31); and "inna 
alladhina kafaru wa yasudduna x an sabil Allah" 52 (22:25) Examples of shifts to the 

44 "0! Apostle of God! When you all divorce women. . ." 

45 "And who is your (2) lord, O MOses!" 

46 "Let him then not evict you from Heaven, for you will then be remorseM." 

47 "And We inspired Moses and his brother to set aside some houses in Egypt, and (tell 
them): to turn their houses into places of worship." 

48,1 And (let all) establish prayer, and give glad tidings to the beleivers." 

49 '0 Assembly of Jinn and Man! if you are able to . . .SO which of the favors of your 
Lord will you (2) deny?" 

50 ". . .He sent the winds and they stir. . ." 

51 "Hurtling down the skies, when suddenly, birds take off with him." 

52 Indeed, those who disbelieve, and obstruct from the path of God. . ." 

imperative are: "qul amara rabbi bi 'l-qisj wa aqlmu wujuhakum" 53 (7:29)and "wa 'uhillat 
lakum 'l-an x am illa ma yutla ^alaikum fa ijtanibu"(22:30) Shifts from the present to the 
past also closely resemble the sudden transition. The verses that follow exemplify the 
shift from the past to the present: "wa yaum yunfakhu fi '1-sur fa fazi'a" 54 (27:87) and: 
"wa yaum nusayyir '1-jibal wa tara '1-ard barizat wa hasharnahum" 55 (18:47) And the 
verse: "qala innl 'ushhidu Allah wa ishhadu annl bari'" 56 (ll:54) exemplifies the shift 
from the present to the imperative. The two verses that follow: "wa ittakhidhu min 
maqam Ibrahim musalla; wa ^ahidna. . ," 57 (2:125) and: "wa an 'aqimu '1-salat wa ittaquhu 
wa huwa alladhi ilaihi tuhsharun" 58 (3:72) exemplify shifts from the imperative to the past 
and the present respectively. 
Sequence ( i-Iffirad) 

Here the speaker names the ancestry of the person being extolled in the order of their 
births. Ibn Abu '1-Isbr has said: "And examples of this genre in the Qur'an include the Almighty 
quoting Joseph as saying: "wa ittaba^tu millat aba'i Ibrahim wa ishaq wa ya x qub" 59 (12:38) He 
said: "He does not mention them in the conventional manner in which the father is first 
mentioned, then the grandfather, and then the great grandfather. The point here is not simply to 
mention ancestry, but rather to identify the people that followed them. He thus begins with the 
founder of the community, and then with the one who first f ollowed him, in that order. The same 
applies to the following statement of Jacob's progeny: "na^budu ilahaka wa ilaha aba'ika Ibrahim 

53 "Say my Lord enjoined the doing of what is right; and so put your face. . ." 

54,1 And on the Day when the horn will be blown and struck. . ." 

55 "And on the Day We shall cause the mountains to disappear, and you shall see the land 
bare and We have resurrected them. . ." 


He said: "I call God to witness, and you too bear witness that I am guiltless of. . ." 

57 "And take the place of Abraham where Abraham stood as a prayer spot; and We 
ordered. . ." 

58,1 . . .and to establish prayer and fear Him; and it is unto Him that you will be gathered.' 1 

59 "And I have pursued the path of my fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" 

wa Ismall wa Ishaq" 60 (2:132) 
Fluidity (Insijam) 

This is where language is so free of blockage that it flows like fast flowing water. And 
because of its fluid construction and sweet language it seems to flow graciously. All of the 
Qur'an is like that. The scholars of good style (7/m 1-badT) have said: "In some forms of prose 
where such Auidity is particularly strong the text is almost instinctively balanced; and this is all 
due to its Auidity." And of this genre are the verses of the Qur'an which appear in measured 
forms, such as the examples which follow: 


We worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac." 

I. The long meter (bahr '1-Jawil) "fa man sha'a falyu'min wa man sha'a fal yakfur" 61 (18:29) 

II. The extended meter ('1-madid): "wa isnal 'l-fulka bi a'yunina" 62 (ll:37) 

III. The outstretched meter ('1-basiJ): "fa asbahu la yura illa masakinuhum" 63 (46:25) 

IV. The abundant meter ('l-wafir): "wa yukhzihim wa yansurkum "alaihim wa yashfi sudur 
qaumin mu'minln" 64 (9:14) 

V. The perfect meter ('l-kamil):"wa Allah yahdi man yasha'u ila sirat mustaqlm" 65 (2:213) 

VI. The trilling meter ('l-hazaj): "fa 'alquhu ^ala wajhi 'abi ya'ti baslran" 66 (12:93) 

VII. The trembling meter ('l-rajaz): "wa daniyat ^alaihim iilaluha wa dhullilat qujufuha 
tadhlilan" 67 (76:14) 

VIII. The running meter ('l-ramal):"wa jifan ka '1-jawab wa qudur rasiyat" 68 (34:13) 

IX. The swift meter ('l-sarr):"au ka alladhi marra x ala qaryat" 69 (2:259) 

61 "So let him who wants to believe in it, and let him who wants to, disbelieve in it." 

62 'Now, construct the ship under our supervision" 

63,1 And they became such that nothing of them could be seen except their homes." 

64 "He will. . .disgrace them, will aid you against them, and He will comfort the bosoms of 
the community of Believers." 

65,1 And God does guide whosoever He wishes to the Straight Path." 

66 "And so throw it on my father's face and he will be able to see." 

67,1 And its shade will be brought close to them, and its bunches of fruit will bow humbly." 

68 ". . .and statues, and great utensils as watering containers." 


''Or like the one who passed by the town" 

X. The flowing meter ('1-munsarih): "inna khalaqna '1-insan min m4fat" 70 (76:2) 

XI. The nimble meter ('l-khafif): "la yakaduna yafqahuna hadithan" 71 (4:78) 

XII. The imperfect meter ('1-mudarr): "yauma '1-tanad; yauma tuwallun 
mudbhin" 72 (40:32,33) 

XIII. The abbreviated meter ('l-muqtadab): "fi qulubihim marad'" 73 (2:10) 

XIV. The amputated meter ('1-mujtath): "nabbi' Ibadi anni ana 'l-ghafur 'l-rahim" 74 (15:49) 

XV. The short stepped meter ('l-mutaqarib): "wa 'umli lahum inna kaidi matin" 75 (7:183) 
The Insertion ('1-Idmaj) 

According to Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" this occurs when the speaker inserts one objective into 
another or one literary form into another, such that only one of the objectives or literary forms is 
manifest, to the exclusion of the other. An example is the statement of the Almighty: "lahu '1- 
hamd fi 'l-'ula wa 'l-akhirat" 76 (28:80) Here hyperbole and convention are mixed because saying 
that God alone is worthy of praise in the Hereafter, When He alone, to the exclusion of all else, 
will remain, may be considered hyperbolic. But in essence, it is not a hyperbole, because God 
alone is worthy of all praise, and He is always The One in both this world and the Hereafter. I 
prefer the view that this verse exemplifies the meshing of one objective into some other. 
Reference to the Resurrection and the Requital was in this case, meshed into the objective itself, 
which was to extol God alone for all praise. 
The Yariegated ('l-Htinan) 

70 "We have indeed, created man from a sperm." 

71 "They were no closer to comprehending the speech." 

72 "The day of calling out to each other; the day you will turn and flee." 

73 "In their hearts is a disease." 

74 "Inform my servants that I am indeed, the All Forgiving, all Merciful." 

75 "I will give them respite for a while; for my schemings are indeed firm." 

76 "Unto Him belongs all praise from start to finish." 

This is to produce two separate modes of speech at once, such as the commiseration and 
the acclamation in the verse: "kullu man ^alaiha fan; wa yabqa wujhu rabbika dhu '1-jalal wa '1- 
ikram" 77 (55:27) Here the Almighty commiserates with life possessing things like humans, the 
jinn, angels. And in ten words He lauds His enduring immortality which will outlive the 
destruction of all things present . He describes Himself thereafter, as the only immortal, the 
Majestic and Noble, High and Mighty! And the verse: "thumma nunajji alladhina 
ittaqau" 78 (19:72) brings together commiserations and congratulations 
The Mastery ('1-Iqtidar) 

This is where the speaker expresses a single meaning in multiple ways to illustrate his 
syntactical skills, and his construction of linguistic devices. At times he illustrates this by way of 
a metaphor, at others, by a simile, or an abridgement, and at others still, in a realistic form. Ibn 
Abu '1-Isbi" has said: 'It is in this form that all the narratives of the Qur'an appear. You will 
notice that a single story with no variations in meaning, appears in multiple forms, and with a 
changing vocabulary. Thus, in no two places will they be alike-and one is bound to find 
differences in its outward manifestations. 
Words that Conform with Other Words and with Other Meanings. 

This occurs in the first place where words conform with each other: uncommon words 
are paired, and common words are similarly, paired. This is done with compatibility and context 
in mind. And in the second place, it occurs where the words of a statement are in conformity 
with the intended meaning. Where the meaning is grand the words used are equally grand, and 
where eloquent, the words used are eloquent. Where however, the meaning is unusual or 
common, the words used are unusual or common. And the same applies to words that fall 
between the unusual and the common. 

77 "Everything that is on it will persih; and the countenance of your Lord, the possessor of 
Majesty and Sublimeness, will remain." 

78 "Then We will save those who feared" 

An example of the first kind is found in the statement of the Almighty: "tafta'u tadhkuru 
Yusuf hatta takuna harad" 79 (12:85) where the most unusual form of the oath, the ta\ is used. This 
is rarely used, and unlike the ba'and the waw, is least likely to be understood by the general 
public. Also unusual is the form of the verbs that puts the noun in the nominative form and the 
predicate in the accusative. The word tazalu is more easily understood and more commonly used. 
And harad the most unusual word for destruction is used. And it is thus apparent that the rules of 
conformity required, in this case, that in keeping with the context, and with the pairing of 
meanings to words, that the most unusual word in every category be used. And where the 
opposite was required as in the verse: "wa aqsamu bi Allah jahd aimanihim" 80 (6:109) all the 
words used were common and not unusual. 

The second is found in the statement of the Almighty: "wa la tarkanu ila alladhlna ialamu 
fa tamassakum 'l-nar" 81 (ll:113) Because the word rukun suggests leaning towards, and 
sanctioning injustice without actual participation, it was necessary for its punishment to be less 
severe than for injustice. Thus the word i-mass which is less than burning and being in flames is 
used. And in the verse: "laha ma kasabat wa ^alaiha ma iktasabat" 82 (2:286) the verb derived from 
i-iktisab alludes to some burden, and by way of its weightiness, stresses the gravity of the evil. 
And similarly, in the verse: "fa kubkibu fiha" 83 (26:94) kubkibu is used because it is more graphic 
than kubbu. This alludes to them being hurled roughly, and mercilessly. And yastarikhun in the 
verse: "wa hum yastarikhuna" 84 (35:37) is more intense than yasrakhun and it alludes to them 
screaming horribly out of control. And the verse: "akhdha x aziz muqtadir" 85 (54:42) uses the 
intense form of the word qadir to allude to His omnipotence, to there being no power able to 

79,1 You continue to mention Joseph to the point of becoming physically broken." 

80 "And they swore to God with their most solemn oaths." 

81 'And incline not to those who are unjust lest the Fire touch you." 

82 "TO his credit is whatever good he does; and to his detriment is whatever evil he does." 

83 "They will be hurled into it." 

84 "And they will be shouting out." 

85 "We seized them with the grip of the one who determines all things." 

deter Him, or to repel Him. The same is true for the verse: "wa isjabir"(19:95) which is more 
intense than isbir. The word i-rahman is also more intense than i-rahm: the former alludes to 
glory and rank, and the latter to benevolence, and Mendliness. 

Included herein are the words saqa and asqa: the former applies where quenching occurs 
without any difficulty. Thus the Almighty uses the term in the verse: "wa saqahum rabbuhum 
sharaban tahuran" 86 (76:21) in reference to the drink of Paradise. The latter however, refers to 
quenching with difficulty, and is thus used in reference to the drink of this world. The verses 
thus say: "Wa asqainakum ma'an furatan" 87 (77:27) and : "la asqainahum ma'an 
ghadaqan" 88 (72:16) because quenching on this earth is never devoid of some difficulty. 
Emendation and Exception ( i-Istidrak and i-Istithna) 

To belong to the category of good style they must incorporate qualities that are greater 
than those inherent in their individual words. An example of an emendation is: "qalat 'l-a x rab 
amanna; qul lam tu'minu wa lakin qulu aslamna" 89 (49:14) Stopping at lam tu ininu would have 
alienated them, for they believed that only a verbal af firmation of the doctrinal formula 
(shahada) without belief is required. The rules of rhetoric required that the statement be 
emended to inform them that belief is when the tongue conforms to the heart. But when the 
tongue alone is involved it is called Islam and not Iman. This is further clarified by the statement: 
"wa lamma yadkhul '1-Tman fl qulubikum" 90 (29:14) And because the emendation clarified an 
obscurity in the language it was considered an element of style. 

An example of the exception is the verse: "fa labitha flhim alf sanat illa khamsln 
x aman" 91 (29:14) Mentioning this period with these words gives Noah his excuse for invoking 
God against his own people by his call to have them destroyed to the last person. But words such 

86 And their Lord will give them to drink a pure drink 

87,1 And We gave you sweet water to drink." 

88,1 And We gave them abundant water." 

89 'The bedouins say that they believe. Say: "You have not believed. Say rather: "We have 

90 "And given that faith has yet to enter your hearts." 

91 "And so he lived among them for a thousand years less fifity." 

as "he lived among them for nine hundred and fifty years" would not have been as effective as 
the word 'thousand', which when it strikes the ear grabs the attention of the listener, and 
motivates him to listen to the remainder of the statement. And the exception when it appears 
lacks the capacity to remove the impact of the word thousand. 
The Excerpt ('1-Iqtisas) 

This category, mentioned by Ibn Faris, occurs where one statement in a chapter is 
excerpted from another statement in the same chapter or in some other chapter. One example is 
reference to the after life in the verse: "wa atainahu ajrahu fl '1-dunya wa innahu fi '1-akhirat la 
min 'l-salihin" 92 (29:27) This however, is the abode of reward in which there is no toil. But this 
reference to toil is excerpted from the verse: "wa man ya'tihl mu'minan qad ^amila '1-salihat fa 
'ula'ika lahum '1-darajat 'Kula" 93 (20:75) Similarly, the verse: "wa lau la ni^mat rabbi la kuntu 
min 'l-muhd'arin" 94 (37:57) is excerpted from: "'ula'ika fl 'Kadhab muMaran" 95 (34:38) And the 
verse: "wa yauma yaqumu 'l-ashhad" 96 (40:51) is an excerpt of four different verses, representing 
the four groups that bear witness. The angels are excerpted from the verse: "wa ja'at kullu nafs 
ma^aha sa'iq wa shahid" 97 (18:21); the apostles from the verse: "fa kaifa idha ji'na min kull 
ummat bi shahid wa ji'na bika x ala ha'ula'i shahid" 98 (4:41); the community of Muhammad from 
the verse: "li takunu shuhada'a x ala 'l-nas" 99 (2:143); and the limbs from the verse: "yaum 

92 "And We will give him his rewards in this world while in the afterlife he will be among 
the pious." 

93 "And whosoever comes to Him as a believer, as one who did good deeds; Such persons 
will have lofty positions." 

94,1 And if it was not f or the bounty of my Lord I would surely have been of those who 

95,1 Such persons suffer in the punishment." 

96 "ON the day when the witnesses will stand." 

97 "And every soul will appear, accompanied by (Angels) who drive him, and who bear 

98 "How then (will the wrongdoers fare) when We bring forth a witness from each 
community and bring you as a witness unto them." 


SO that you may be witnesses unto mankind." 

tashhadu ^alaihim alsinatuhum" 100 (24:24) 


On a day when their tongues shall bear testimony against them." 

And the verse: "yaum '1-tanad" 101 (40:32) is recited with and without stress. The former is 
excerpted from the verse: "wa nada ashab '1-jannat ashab 'l-nar" 102 (7:44) and the latter from the 
verse: "yaum yafirr '1-mar'u min akhihi" 103 (80:34) 
The Substitution ('1-Ibdal) 

Here one part of a word substitutes for some other. Ibn Faris has included herein the 
verse: "fa infalaq" 104 (26:63) where the word infalaqa when reconfigured, would read infaraqa. 
Which is why it goes on to say: "fa kana kullu firq" 105 (26:63) And the letters lam and ra'are 
alternates. And Khalll furnishes the following verse as an example: "fa jasu khilal '1- 
diyar" 106 (17:5) which reconstituted, would have read: fa hasu except for the fact that the letter 
j]m appeared in place of the ha'. But it is also recited with the ha'. '1-Farisi included the verse: 
"inni ahbabtu hubb 'l-khair" 107 (38:32) which reconstituted would read: 'l-khail. Abu ^Ubaida 
included the verse: "illa muka'an wa tasdiyat" 108 (8:35) which reconstituted, would read: tasdidat. 
Stressing the Approbation such that it Resembles the Rebuke 


101 ". . .on the day when you will call out to each other." 

102 'And on the day when the companions of Heaven will call out to the companions of 

103 'On the day when a person will abandon his brother." 
104 "It was split asunder." 
105 "And each of the parts. . ." 


And they wreaked havoc throughout the land." 
107 "I have indeed, come to love the love of good things. 
108,1 Whistling and clapping of hands." 

Ibn Abu '1-Isbr has said: "This is extremely rare in the Qur'an." And he said: "I found no 
more than one verse in this regard: "qul ya ahl '1-kitab lima tanqimuna minna illa an amanna bi 
Allah" 109 (5:59) The exception which appears after the interrogative particle does so as a rebuke 
to what they found objectionable about the believer's faith. This gives the impression that the 
statement that follows can be held against the perpetrator as being objectionable. But the 
statement that follows can only be construed as reason to praise its perpetrator. This therefore, is 
a case of the approbation which resembles a rebuke. 

I would say that the following two verses also fit this description: "wa ma naqamu illa an 
aghnahum Allah wa rasuluhu min fad'lihi" 110 (9:74) and: "alladhina 'ukhriju min diyarihim bi 
ghair haqq illa an yaqulu rabbuna Allah" m (22:40) On the face of it the exception would seem to 
suggest that the statement that follows would justify the eviction. But it turns out to be a 
praiseworthy act that justifies respect, not eviction. Thus here too, approbation is being stressed 
in the form of a rebuke. 

Tanukhl, in the work \-Aqsa \-Qarib includes the verse: "la yasma^una fiha laghwan wa 
la ta'thiman; illa qilan salaman salaman" 112 (56:25,26) where the words salaman! salaman! 
which are the opposite of vain talk and calls to sinMness are excepted. This therefore, stresses 
the non existence of vain talk and of calls to sinMness." 
Delegation( TafwR) 

This is when the speaker, in a single statement with multiple nuances, uses several 
rhetorical devices, in separate phrases, to praise, describe, etc, such that the phrases together 
share a particular cadence. This appears in lengthy, medium and short sentences. To the lengthy 
sentences belongs the verse: "alladhi khalaqani fa huwa yahdin; wa alladhi yuf imuni wa yasqin; 

109 "Say: "O People of the Book Do you find fault in us, for no other reason except that we 
believe in God." 

110 "And they found nothing blameworthy, except that God and His Messenger had 
enriched them with His bounty." 

m "Those who were evicted from their homes unjustly, only because they said that God is 
our Lord." 


They will not listen to vain talk nor any call to sin; only calls for peace! peace! 

wa idha maricTtu fu huwa yashiin; wa alladhl yumltuni wa yuhym" 113 (26:78-81) And to the 
medium sentences belongs the verse: "tulij '1-lail fl il-nahar wa tulij '1-nahar 11 '1-lail; wa tukhrij 
'1-hayy min '1-mayyit wa tukhrij mayyit min 'l-hayy" 114 (3:27) And Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" has said: 
"Sentences of the short type do not appear in theQur'an." 
Distribution ('1-Taqslm) 

113 "The One who created me and guides me; And the One who feeds me and gives me 
drink; And when I take ill then it is He who cures me; And it is He who causes me to die and 
then resurrects me." 

114 "You lengthen the night by shortening the day; and you lengthen the day by shortening 
the night; and you bring out the living from the dead; and you bring out the dead from the 

This is an exhaustive description of the qualities present in an object, and not just latent 
within it. This is the case with the verse: "huwa alladhl yurikum 'l-barq khaufan wa 
tama x an" 115 (13:12), for the picture of lightning can only instil, a fear of its thunderbolts and 
hopes of rain. There is no third to these two kinds. 

And the verse: "fa minhum zalim li nafsihi wa minhum muqtasid wa minhum 
sabiq" 116 (35:32) This is because the world comprises only of these three categories: a sinner who 
does injustice to himself, a virtuous person who is foremost in good deeds; and a person in 
between who adopts a middle path." 

The same is true for the verse: "wa kuntum azwajan thalatha; fa ashab '1-maimanat ma 
ashab '1-maimanat; Wa ashab '1-mash'amat ma ashab '1-mash'amat; wa 'l-sabiqun '1- 
sabiqun" 117 (56:7,10). And the verse: "lahu ma baina aidina wa ma khalfana wa ma baina 
dhalika" 118 (19:64) which exhausts all the periods of time; and there is no fourth. 

And the verse: "wa Allah khalaqa kulla dabbat min ma'in; fa minhum man yamshl x ala 
bajnihl wa minhum man yamshl x ala rijlain; wa minhum man yamshl ^ala arba x in" 119 (24:45) 
covers all creatures that move. 

And the verse: "alladhlna yadhkuruna Allah qiyaman wa qu x udan wa ^ala 
junubihim" 120 (3:191) covers all possible positions adopted by one engaged in remembrance. 

115 "It is He who shows you the lightning: it fills you with fear and hope." 

116 "And of them are some who do injustice to themselves; and of them are those who are 
in between; and of them are those who are foremost in good deeds." 

117 "And you will be in three groups: the companions of the right-how joyful will the 
companions of the right be? The companions of the left-how joyful will the companions of the 
left be? And those foremost-Ah! the foremost ones! 

118 "Unto Him belongs that which is with us, and that which is beyond our scope, and that 
which is in between." 

119 "And God created every animal from: of them some crawl on their bellies; and of them 
some walk of twos; and of them some walk on fours." 

120 "Those who remember God standing, sitting, and on their sides." 

And the verse: "yahabu liman yasha'u inathan wa yahabu liman yasha'u '1-dhukur au 
yuzawwijuhum dhukranan wa inathan; wa yaf alu man yasha'u x aqlman." 121 (25:49,50) covers all 
the circumstances of those married; and there is no fifth category. 
Embellishment ('1-Tadbij) 

Here the speaker mentions different colors by way of a double entendre or a metaphor. 
Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" exemplifies this by the following statement of the Almighty: "wa min '1-jibal 
judadun bidun wahumrun mukhtalifun alwanuha wa gharabib sud" 122 (35:27) He said: "God 
knows best, but this is a metaphor for paths that are clear and unclear. Thus, it is the white path 
which is very well trodden, most clear and therefore, most distinguishable. Less clear is the red 
path, and even less so, is the black path, almost in contrast to the white, in distinction and clarity. 
And to the eye these three colors appear to represent two extremes and a middle: the most 
distinct is white, the most obscure, black, with red, as in the spectrum of colors, lying in 
between. Mountains assume these three hues alone, and all known forms of guidance too, seem 
to manifest themselves, in three similar patterns. The verse therefore, is so divided to illustrate 
this embellishment and an appropriate division. 
Extraction ('1-Tankit) 

This is when the speaker intends one specific item to the exclusion of all others that fall 
into the same category. And he does so because the item in question has a quality that justifies its 
special treatment over all other items in that category. Thus in the verse of the Almighty: "wa 
annahu huwa rabb 'l-shi x ra" 123 (53:49) it is the star i-shi Yathat is singled out for special mention, 
to the exclusion of all other stars, even though the Almighty is the Lord of all things. But among 
the Arabs a man known as Ibn Abu Kabsha worshiped i-shi ^ra, and invited others to do so as 
well. God Almighty thus revealed the verse "wa annahu huwa rabb 'l-shLra" in which lordship is 

121 "He gives to whomsoever He wants a female; and He gives to whomsoever He wants, 
a male. And He bestows both males and females; and He makes whomsoever He wants, 

122 "And of the mountains: there are streaks of white and red; of varying colors; and of a 
deep black." 

123 "And that He is the Lord of the star '1-shLra" 

Stripping ('I-Tajrid) 

To stress how perrect a certain quality is within one object, the latter is stripped from 
another similar object in which that quality so to speak, is not present. Thus, the phrase sadiq 
hamrni having the quality of Mendship, in the statement limin fulan sadiq hamim is seemingly 
stripped from another phrase 'l-rajul i-sadiq And in the statement marartu bi 'l-rajul i-karim 
wa i-nasimat i-mubaraka another rajul with the special quality of nobility is isolated from i- 
rajul i-karim. He is then appended to him as if he is someone else, although he is the very same 

An example of this in the Qur'an is the verse: "lahum flha dar 'l-khuld" 124 (41:28) This is 
not to say that Heaven has in it an abode of eternity and an abode of non eternity, but rather, that 
it is in itself an abode of eternity. And, as mentioned in the work i-Muhtasab it is as if a separate 
abode has been isolated from the abode. Included herein is the verse: "yukhriju '1-hayya min '1- 
mayyit wa mukhrij '1-mayyit min 'l-hayy" 125 (6:95) if by the word i-mayyit is meant sperm. 
Zamakhshari has said: "And ^Ubaid b. ^Umair recited (the word wardatun) in the verse: "fa kanat 
wardat ka 'l-dihan" 126 (55:37) in the nominative case. Which would imply that from it emerged a 
rose. He said: "This belongs to the category of stripping." Another verse recited differently is: 
'yarithuni wa warith min al ya x qub" 127 (19:6) Ibn Jinni has said: "This is stripping, because when 
reconfigured it would read wahaba limin ladunka waliyyan yarithuniminhu warith min al 
ya*qub Whilst it is he who is the heir, the impression given is that some separate heir was 
stripped of him. 
Enumeration ('1-Ta'did) 

124 "For them therein is the abode of eternity." 

125 'He is the One who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from 
the living." 

126 "IT would be like a melting rose." 

127 "He will be my heir and the heir of the family of Jacob" 

Here several single words are mentioned in the same format. It occurs most often with 
adjectives, as in the verse: "huwa Allah alladhi la ilaha illa huwa '1-malik 'l-quddus '1-salam '1- 
mu'min '1-muhaimin 'Kaziz '1-jabbar 'l-mutakabbir" 128 (59:23). Other examples are the verse: "'1- 
ta'ibun 'Kabidun '1-hamidun 129 (9:112) and the verse: "muslimat mu'minat" 130 (66:5) 
The Sequence ('l-Tartlb) 

Here the attributes of an object are cited in their natural order of creation, with no 
additional attributes. x Abd '1-Baql '1-Yamani exemplifies this by way of the verse: "huwa alladhi 
khalaqakum min turab thumma min nu|fat thumma min x alaqat thumma yukhrijukum Jiflan 
thumma litablughu 'ashuddakum thumma li takunu shuyukhan" 131 (40:14) And by the verse: "fa 
kadhdhabuhu fa ^aqaruha" 132 (91:45) 
Raising and Lowering ('1-Taraqql wa '1-TadallI) 

Both these categories have been discussed in the section on advancing and retarding. 

Ellipses ('l-Tadmln) 

This is applied to several things: 
A. Where one word is substituted for some other because it incorporates the same meaning. 

This is a type of metaphor which has already been discussed. 
B. Where a statement encompasses a meaning but is nonetheless devoid of the actual word 

towards which such a meaning points. This is a form of brevity which has already been 

C. Where there is a linkage to a statement which appears after the pause, And this appears in 

the category on the pauses. 

128 "He is God, bedsides who there is no other deity. He is the supreme Sovereign, the 
Hallowed, the Defect Free, the Giver of Faith, the Almighty, the Subduer, The One worthy of all 

129 "Those who are repentant, those who worship, those who extol. . ." 

130 'Muslims, believers. . ." 

131 "It is He who created you from dust, then from sperm, then from congealed blood, then 
He delivered you as a child, and let you reach your full strength, and then to reach old age." 

132 "They belied him; and they hamstrung it." 

D. Where some foreign statement is inserted with a view to adding stress, or to arranging the 
syntax. It is this category that belongs to good style. Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" has said: "I was 
unable to find examples hereof in the Qur'an except in two places where sections from 
the Torah and the Gospels were inserted. They are: "wa katabna "alaihim flha anna '1- 
nafsa bi 'l-nafsi" 133 (5:45) and: "Muhammad rasul Allah" 134 (48:29) Ibn '1-Naqib and others 
have illustrated this by reference to the dialogs of the creatures in the Qur'an. An example 
is the Almighty quoting the angels: "a taf alu flha man yufsidu fiha" 135 (2:168); and the 
Hypocrites: "a nu'minu ka ma amana 'l-sufaha'u" 136 (2:30) or "wa qalat 'l-yahud" 137 (2:113) 
and "wa qalat 'l-nasara" 138 (2:113) To this category belong foreign language insertions. 
Pun ( i-Jinas) 

This is where two words are similar in pronunciation. According to the work Kanz 1- 
Bara^a it serves to draw attention, because words that are similar attract attention and draw 
interest. Furthermore, when words that sound similar and refer to the same meaning are suddenly 
used for different meanings then that does indeed, pique interest. There are many forms of 
assonance. They include: 

133 'And We had decreed for them therein that there should be a life for a life." 

134 "Muhammad is the messenger of God." 

135 "Will you install therein one who will make mischief therein!" 

136 "Will you believe just as the feeble minded believe." 

137 "The Jews say. . ." 

138 "The Christians say. . ." 

1. Complete ( i-tam): Where words share letters, structure, numbers, and forms, as with the 
word saat in the verse of the Almighty: "wa yauma taqum 'l-sif at yuqsimu '1-mujrimun 
ma labithu ghair siTat" 139 (30:55) Apart from this example no other such verse, it is said, 
appears anywhere in the Qur'an. But the Shaikh i-Islam Ibn Hajr '1-Asqalani has 
furnished another example: "yakad sana barqihi yadhhabu bi '1-absar; yuqallibu Allah '1- 
lail wa '1-nahar inna fi dhalika la Ibrat li 'uli '1-absar" 140 (24:43-44) Some have argued 
against the first verse belonging to the category of assonance. They maintain that 'the 
hour' in both instances mean the same thing, whereas a pun requires the same word to 
have different meanings. Also, one word should not be literal and the other figurative; 
rather, they should both be literal. And the Last Hour, despite its duration, is, in rererence 
to God, equal to a single hour. Whilst the ascription of the Hour to Resurrection is literal, 
to the Last Day it is figurative. This therefore falls outside the category of puns, and is 
equivalent to saying: rakibtu himaran wa laqaitu himaran where the word himar in its 
second usage means idiot. 

2. Mispronounced ('1-Musahhaf): This form, also known asjinas i-khaff, comprises of 
letters with dissimilar pronunciations. An example is: "wa alladhi huwa yuf imuni wa 
yasqin; wa idha marid'tu fahuwa yashfin" 141 (26:79,80) Also in this category is the 
distorted pun ( i-muharraf), and it refers to differences in diacritical markings. An 
example is the verse: "wa laqad arsalna tihim mundhirin; fa undhur kaifa kana x aqibat '1- 
mundharin" 142 (37:72) And "wa hum yahsabuna annahum yuhsinuna 
sun x an" 143 (18:104)exemplifies a verse where both the distorted and the mispronounced 

139 "And when the Last Hour is heralded the iniquitous will proclaim: 'We have tarried no 
more than an hour!" 

140 "The intensity of His lightning flash almost takes away sight; God alternates the night 
and the day. In that is indeed a lesson for those with insight." 

141 "And the One who feeds me and provides me with drink; and when I take ill He heals 

142 'And We have dispatched among them warners; now ponder the fate of those who 
were warned." 


And they imagine that they are doing good deeds." 

appear together. 

3. The Incomplete ('1-Naqis), where the amount of letters vary, and where such letters 
appear variously, at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the verse. An example 
is the verse: "wa 'ltaffat 'l-saq bi 'l-saq ila rabbika yauma'idhin 'l-masaq" 144 (75:30) and 
"thumma kuli min kulli 'l-thamarat" 145 (16:69) 

4. The Appendix ('1-Mudhdhayyil) where one of the words has extra letters in front or at the 
back. Some have termed the latter as the crowned (mutawwaj). Examples are: "wa undhur 
ila ilahika " 146 (20:97); "wa lakinna kunna mursilln" 147 (28:45); "man amana bihi" 148 (7:86); 
"inna rabbahum bihim" 149 (100:ll); and "mudhabdhabin baina dhalika" 150 (4:143) 

5. The Similar ('1-mudarr) where the difference is a single letter which is pronounced in 
much the same way, and which may occur in the beginning, the middle, or the end of the 
verse. An example is: "wa hum yanhauna ^anhu wa yan'auna x anhu" 151 (6:26) 

6. The Attached ('l-lahiq) where the difference is a single letter which is not pronounced in 
much the same way. Examples are: "wail li kulli humazat lumazat" 152 (104:l); "wa innahu 
x ala dhalika la shahid; wa innahu li hubb '1-khair la shadid" 153 (100:7,8); "dhalikum bima 
kuntum tafrahuna fi '1-ard bi ghair 'l-haqq wa bima kuntum tamrahun" 154 (40:75); and "wa 

144,1 When shank is wrapped around shank; towards your sustainer will be the driving." 

145 'Then eat of each fruit." 

146 'And look at your god. . ." 

147 "But we were rather, the messengers." 

148 'Those who believed in Him. 

149 "Their Lord is to them. . ." 

150 "Vacillating between this and that. 

151 "And they restrict others from him, and themselves stay away from him. . ." 

152 "Woe unto every fault finder, backbiter. 

153 'And to that is he himself indeed, witness; and to the love of wealth is he most 

154,1 And that is because you so arrogantly exulted on earth without justification, and 


idha ja'ahum amr min 'l-'amn" (4:37) 

because you were so filled with conceit." 

155 'And if any matter pertaining to peace comes to them." 

7. The Conjoined ('1-Muraffaq), where one word is similar to parts of another, as in the 
verse: "juruf har fa inhar" 156 (9:105) 

8. The Verbal ( 1 l-lafzi) where the difference is a letter in one word, which when 
pronounced, is similar to one in the other word. An example are the letters dad and za as 
found in the verse: "wujuh yauma'idhin nad'irat; ila rabbiha naiirat" 157 (75:22,23) 

9. The Inversion ('1-Qalb) where the sequence of the letters is transposed, as in the verse: 
"farraqta baina bani isra'il" 158 (20:94) 

10. The Derivation ( 1 l-Ishtiqaq) where both words are derived from the same root. This is 
also known as the 'condensed' {'l-muqtadhb) Examples are the following: "fa rauh wa 
raihan" 159 (56:89); "fa aqim wajhaka li '1-din 'l-qayyim" 160 (30:43); and "wajjahtu 
wajhiya" 161 (6:79) 

11. The Ascribed ( 1 l-Itiaq) where the resemblance is on the surface only. This is so in the 
following cases: "wa jana 'l-jannatain" 162 (55:54); "qala innl li ^amalikum min 'l-qalln" 
163 (25:168); "li yuriyahu kaifa yuwari" 164 (5:31); "wa in yuridka bi khair fa la radda" 
165 (10:107); "aththaaqaltum ila '1-ard'; 'a radltum" 166 (9:38); "wa idha an^amna ^ala '1-insan 

156 "Weathered river bank; and it crumbles. . ." 

157 "Faces on that day will be radiant; looking at their Lord" 

158,1 You have caused a division among the Children of Israel." 

159 ". . .rest and provision 

160 "So position yourself with the one true faith." 

161 ". . .direct my face. . ." 

162 "And the fruit will be in easy reach." 

163 "He said: 'I am indeed, disgusted with your practice." 

164,1 . . .to show him how to conceal. . . 

165,1 And if He chooses good for you then nothing can turn. . ." 

166 "You are weighed down to the ground; are you satisfied with. 

^' „„t,1'»167 7 

a>ad'a. . . fa dhu du^a' arid"' i&/ (41:51) 


And when We are bountiful to man he turns. . .He engages in long supplications." 

Because the pun serves to embellish language rather than meaning it is abandoned in 
cases where the meaning is powerml. An example is the statement of the Almighty: "wa ma anta 
bi mu'min lana wa lau kunna sadiqln" 168 (12:17) Why not say wa maanta musaddiq instead, and 
thereby deliver meaning together with pun? To this question comes the reply that mu Ynin lana 
embodies the kind of meaning not found in musaddiq. The statement fulan musaddiq //implies 
that he told me 'you speak the truth' (sadaqta), whereas the word mu 'min implies both believing 
and trusting. Their purpose therefore, was more than to affirm; it was to obtain trust-which is 
why the verse is f ormulated as such. 

And some among the literati have erred in their view that if the verse: "a tad^un balan wa 
tadharuna ahsan 'l-khaliqin"(37:125) used the word tada^un instead of tadharun then the added 
benefit would have been use of the pun. The imam Fakhr '1-DIn replied that the eloquence of the 
Qur'an serves not to pander to such formalities but to strengthen meaning and to provide good 
style. Others have said that concerns about meaning take precedence over words. Using the 
words 'a tad^una and tada^una would have confused the reader, who would ascribed similar 
meanings to both words, and put the difference down to a printing error. This however is not an 
adequate response. Ibn Zamlakani replied that the pun serves to embellish, and is thus used in 
places that hold out promise and virtue and not in places that threaten. '1-Khuwayyi responds that 
the word yada^u is more specific than yadhar because it connotes the abandonment of a sought 
after object. This is supported by the etymology of the word. Thus, 'l-ida a related term, refers 
to depositing an object with due concern for its welfare. This also explains why care is taken in 
entrusting such an object to a trustworthy person. And so too, is the case with the word 'l-da^at 
which means ease. But the word tadhar means total abandonment or abandonment because of 
rejection, or total rejection. 

Raghib has said: The saying goes fulan yadhar 'l-shay ' which means that he tosses it out, 
with little care. Hence, the word 'l-wadharat which refers to a piece of meat that is thrown out 
because of a lack of need. No doubt, the context favors this meaning over the first because the 
objective here is to illustrate adversely, their rejection of their Lord, in a manner, most 
The Union ('1-Jam u) 


You will not believe us even though we are truthful. 

Here two or more things are combined under a single rule, as in the case of the verse: "'1- 
mal wa '1-banun zinat '1-hayat 'l-dunya" 169 (18:46) where wealth and children are jointly 
described as adornments. The same is true of the verse: "'1-shams wa 'l-qamar bi husban; wa '1- 
najm wa '1-shajar yasjudan" 170 (55:5,6) 
The Union and the Separation ('1-JanTu wa 'l-tafriq) 

This is to include two things into a single category and to separate their modes of entry. 
Tibi has included the following verse in this category: "Allah yatawaffa 'l-anfus hina mautiha . . 
," 171 (39:42) Both groups of persons are included in this process of taking up souls. Then a 
distinction is made between those souls decreed to remain and those allowed to return. It is thus 
God who holds back and sends forth. Or it is God who causes souls to be taken: those held back 
as well as those released. He holds back the f ormer and releases the latter. 
The Union and the Arrangement ('1-JanTu wa '1-Taqsim) 

Here several things are combined under a single rule and then arranged, as in the verse: 
"thumma aurathna '1-kitab alladhina isjafaina min Ibadina; fa minhum zalim li nafsihi; wa 
minhum muqtasid; wa minhum sabiq bi 'l-khairat" 172 (35:32) 
The Union, The Separation and the Arrangement ('1-JanTu ma'a '1-Tafriq wa '1-Taqslm) 

169 "Wealth and sons are the adornments of the worldly life." 

170 "The sun and the moon have measured movements; and the star and the tree prostrate." 

171 "It is God who causes persons to die at the time of their death." 

172 "Then We bequeathed the Book to those of our servants We favored; Some were unjust 
to themselves, others restrained in both good and evil, and others still vying in the performance 
of good deeds." 

This appears in the statement of the Almighty: "yauma ya'ti la takallamu nafsun illa bi 
idhnihi. . ." 173 (11: 105-108) The union is in the verse: "la takallamu nafsun illa bi idhnihi" 
because in reality there are several such persons. This is in accordance with the rule that an 
indefinite noun (nafs) used in a negative context serves to generalize. The separation is to be 
found in: "fa minhum shaqiyyun wa sald", and the arrangement in: fa amma alladhina shaqu" 
and "wa amma alladhina suldu". 

The Union of that which is Similar and that which is Dissimilar 
(Jam u '1-Mu'talaf wa '1-Mukhtalaf) 

This, in the first instance, is to show equality in the attributes ascribed to two persons, 
through the usage of words common to both, and to then privilege one over the other, such that 
the qualities of one person increase, but without any decrease in those of the other person. Thus 
words that contradict equality are used, as in the case of the verse: "wa dawuda wa sulaiman idh 
yahkuman. . ." 174 (21:78) where both are portrayed as being equal in power and knowledge, and 
Solomon is then shown to have greater understanding. 
Symmetry (Husn '1-Nasaq) 

173 "When that day arrives, no soul will speak except with His permission; (of those 
gathered) some will be wretched, others, happy. As for those who are wretched, they will be in 
the Fire: in it is nothing but moans and sobs. They will abide therein for as long as the skies and 
the earth have endured, except where your Lord wills otherwise. Your Lord is indeed, one who 
does as He pleases. As for those who will be happy, they will be in Heaven; they will abide 
therein for as long as the skies and the earth have endured, except where your Lord wills 
otherwise. This is an eternal gift. 


And remember David and Solomon when they ruled. 

Here, words used in statements are symmetrical, sequential, and so pleasantly cohesive 
that even when separated, such statements stand alone, with meanings derived solely from the 
words themselves. Thus the separate phrases of the verse: "wa qlla ya ard iblal ma'aki. . ." 
175 (11:44) are linked by the conjunction, waw, in accordance with the rules of rhetoric. The first 
phrase begins with the most important event, which is the disappearance of the water from the 
face of the earth. This was the primary concern of the ship's passengers waiting to get out of its 
prison like confines. Then follows the cessation of water from the skies-everything depended on 
this, because the difficulties lying outside the ship could not otherwise be avoided. Then the 
differences present on the earth are discussed, followed by the disappearance of the waters 
responsible for the flood. Thereafter, the decree comes to pass, and those so destined are 
destroyed, and those not, saved. This is mentioned afer the foregoing events, because the ship's 
passengers only learnt of it after disembarking. The latter however, was contingent upon the 
occurrence of all the foregoing events. The verse then speaks of the ship coming to a halt, and 
resting, thus signifying the replacement of their sense of fear and uncertainty with security. It 
concludes by cursing the unjust, to show that whilst the Flood had deluged the entire earth, it 
only afflicted those deserving punishment because of their injustice. 
Self Criticism (7tab i-mariNafsahu) 

Included herein are the verses: "wa yauma ya x ad'd'u 'l-zalim x ala yadaihi yaqul ya laitani" 

1 7fi "■ 1 77 

(25:27)and the verse: "an taqula nafsun ya hasrata ^ala ma farrajtu fi janb Allah" (39:56) 
The Inversion ( i-^Aks) 

This is to alternate parts of a verse such that the first part of the verse appears again at the 
end of that very verse. Examples are: "ma "alaika min hisabihim min shai'in wa ma min hisabika 
^alaihim min shai'in" 178 (6:52); "yulij '1-laila fi '1-nahar wa yulij '1-nahar fi 'l-lail" 179 (22:61); "wa 

i75,«q g^jji Swallow up your water! And O Sky! stop the rain! And the waters sank; and 
the deed was done; and the boat came to rest on Judi." 

176 "And on the day when the unjust person will gnaw on his hand saying 'Woe unto me!. . 

177 "Lest the human being says: 'Woe unto me! How excessively disobedient have I been 
with what is God's due." 

178 "You are not responsible for their account in any way, nor are they responsible on your 
account, in any way." 

man yukhrij '1-hayya min '1-mayyit wa yukhrij '1-mayyit min 'l-hayy" 180 (10:31); "hunna libas 
lakum wa antum libas lahunna" 181 (2:187); "la hunna hill lahum wa la hum yahiMna 
lahunna" 182 (60:10) 

When asked about the wisdom of inverting this word in the last verse Ibn 'l-Munlr said: 
"It serves to show that the Disbelievers are also subject to the rules of the sacred law." The 
master, Badr '1-DIn b. '1-Sahib said: "The truth is that the act is proscribed for both the believer 
and the disbeliever: the believing woman is prohibited directly, whereas the disbeliever is 
prohibited because such a sexual relationship will lead to corruption. Thus, it is not the 
disbeliever who is being addressed, but the leadership and its deputies encumbered with 
preventing this from happening. The sacred law, after all, requires that life be free from 
corruption. It is thus clear that in the case of the believing woman, as well as the disbeliever, the 
act is proscribed because of certain considerations. 

179 "He merges the night into day, and He merges the day into night." 

180 "And the One who extracts the living from the dead, and the One who extracts the dead 
fromthe living." 

181 "You are a garment unto them, and they are a garment unto you." 

182 "Neither are they lawful unto you, nor are you lawful unto them." 

Ibn Abu '1-Isbr has said: "One peculiar form of address is the verse: "wa man ya^mal min 
'1-salihat min dhakar au 'untha wa huwa mu'min fa 'ula'ika yadkhuluna '1-jannat wa la yuilamuna 
naqiran; wa man ahsan dinan min man aslama wajhahu li Allah wa huwa muhsin" 183 (4:124,125) 
The first verse is arranged differently from the second because action precedes faith in the 
former, but is in turn preceded by Islam in the latter. 

Also included herein is a category known as qalb wa 'l-maqlub '/-mustawn(Parity 
Between the Inverted to and the Inverted from) and malayastaM bi 'l-in ^ikas (That Which is not 
Impossible if Reflexed) Here the word can be read from end to beginning, as well as from 
beginning to end. An example is the verse: "kullun fi falak" 184 (21:33) and the verse: "wa rabbaka 
fa kabbir" 185 (74:3) There are no other such verses in the Qur'an. 
Title ('1- Unwan) 

Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" says that this occurs where the speaker with a particular motive proceeds 
to complete or to stress such a motive using words that together form the title of some upcoming 
or previous narrative. There are also a great number which appear as titles for the various 
sciences, in the form of words that together form the basis of and introduction to these science. 

An example of a narrative is the verse: "wa 'utlu "alaihim naba'a alladhi atainahu ayatina 
fa insalakha bihi" 186 (7:157) which is the title to the story of BaPam" 

183 "And whosoever, among men or women, does any good whilst believing, such persons 
will enter paradise, and will not be treated unjustiy, not even equal to the groove of a date stone. 
And who is better in faith than one who surrenders his countenance to God and he is virtuous." 

184,1 All of them are in an orbit." 

185 "And your Lord: Extol Him! 

186 "And recite unto them the story of that person unto whom We gave our verses, and 
who slunk away from them." 

An example of a science is the verse: "Intaliqu ila zill dhi thalath sfnfab" 187 (77:30,31) 
which is the title for the science of engineering. This is because the triangle is the foremost of 
forms, and when any one of its sides is raised facing the sun no shadow is formed, and this is 
because of the sharpness of its edges. And by way of ridicule God Almighty orders the people of 
Hell Fire to seek shelter under an object with this shape! 

And the verse: "wa kadhalika nuri Ibrahlm malakut '1-samawat wa 'l-ard" 188 (6:75) serves 
as a title for the sciences of metaphysics, polemics and astronomy. 
The Precious ('1-Fara'id) 

This is peculiar to eloquence rather than to rhetoric because it requires the usage of words 
that act like gems in a necklace, like incomparable jewels. It points to the great eloquence of this 
Book, to the power of its expression, the purity of its logic, and the originality of its Arabic. 
Thus, if it were to be dropped from a statement, the eloquent ones would have difficulty 
replacing it. 

The following verses serve as examples: the word hashasa in the verse: "al'ana hashasa '- 
haqq" 189 (12:51); the word 'l-rafath in the verse: "Uhilla lakum lailat '1-siyam 'l-rafath ila 
nisa'ikum" 190 (2:187); the word fuzz\a in the verse: "hatta idha fuzzfa x an qulubihim" 191 (34:23); 
and the words khalnat i-ayun in the verse: "yalamu kha'inat 'l-a x yun" 192 (40:19). Other 
examples are the words of the verses: "fa lamma istai'asu minhu khalasu najiyyan" 193 (12:80) and: 
"fa idha nazala bi sahatihim fa sa'a sabah '1-mundharin" 194 (37:177) 


187 "Move on towards the shadow of three quarters." 

188 "And thus did We show Abraham majesty over the Heavens and the Earth. . ." 

189 "Now the truth has become manifest." 

190 "Lawful unto is sexual relations with your partners, during night time hours of the 

191 "When it is lifted from their hearts. . ." 

192 "He knows the thievery of the eyes." 

193,1 And when they despaired of him they conferred in secret." 

194,1 And when it descends on them how hapless is the wakening of those who had been 

The Oath ( i-Qasm) 

Here the speaker in need of an oath swears on that which does him proud, that which 
exalts his status, pays tribute to his worth, rebukes others, takes the form of love poetry, or a 
sermon on piety and self restraint. Thus in the verse: "fa wa rabbi '1-sama' wa '1-ard innahu 
lahaqq mithla ma annakum tantiqun" 195 (51:23) the Almighty swears by that which merits pride 
because it exalts through power that which is greatest, most majestic, and sublime. Similarly, in 
the verse: "la ^amruka innahum la fl sakratihim ya x mahun" 196 (15:72) the Almighty, Unblemished 
is He, swears by the life of His Apostle (s) in deference to his status, and his worth. In the 
section on oaths issues related to this will appear. 
Iiwolution and Evolution ( t-Laf was t-Nashr) 

Here, two or more items are mentioned, either by exhaustive reference through the text, 
to each item, or by brief reference through a single word to multiple items, which are then 
referred to individually by their foregoing equivalent. The listener then has to match each object 
to its appropriate partner. An example of an abbreviated statement is the verse: "wa qalu lan 
yadkhul '1-jannat illa man kana hudan au nasara" i97 (2:lll) where Jews claim that only a Jew 
will enter paradise and Christians, only a Christian. That this is a case of involution is 
corroborated by the f act that Jews and Christians, who hated each other, would have found it 
impossible to concede each other entering paradise! Common sense and the need to avoid 
confusion thus dictates that this statement be ascribed separately to the Jews of Medina and the 
Christians of Najran. 


195 'By the Lord of the Heaven and the Earth: It is indeed the truth, just as your speaking 

196 "By your life! They blindly stumble in their drunken stupor." 

197,1 And they say: "None but a Jew or a Christian will enter Paradise." 

I maintain that an abbreviated statement may also appear in the form of an evolution and 
not an involution. This is where multiple things are mentioned followed by a single phrase that 
encompasses this multiplicity. This would be exemplified by the verse: "hatta yatabayyana 
lakum '1-khaiJ '1-abyad min 'l-kharj '1-aswad min 'l-fajr" 198 (2:187) if one accepts Abu x Ubaida's 
explanation that white thread refers not to the night, but to the f alse dawn. I have explained this 
in the work Asrar i-TanzĔ. 
Expanded phrases are of two kinds: 

1-Those that are sequentially hwoluted, as in the verse: "jVala lakum '1-lail wa '1-nahar li 
taskunu fihi wa li tabtaghu min fadlihi" 199 (28:73) This state of restfulness refers to the night, 
whilst the seeking of bounties refers to the day. Another example is the verse: "wa la taf al 
yadaka maghlulatan ila "unuqika wa la tabsudia kulla '1-basJ fa taq"uda maluman mahsuran" 
200 (103:29) where the word laum (censure) refers to being stingy, and mahsuran (destitution)to 
being extravagant. This is because the latter means being cut off, and to having nothing. Also, 
among the verses beginning with: "a lam yajidka yatiman. . ." etc, the verse: "Fa amma 'l-yatlm 
fa la taqhar" refers to the verse: "a lam yajidka yatiman fa 'awa", whilst the verse: "wa amma '1- 
sa'il fa la tanhar" refers to the verse: "wa wajadaka dallan"-the reference here, as explained by 
Mujahid and others, being to one who seeks knowledge; and the verse: "wa amma bi ni^mati 
rabbika fa haddith" refers to the verse: "wa wajadaka ^ailan fa aghna" 201 1 have seen this example 
in Nawawi's commentary on the work i-Wasif titled i-Tanqih 

2-Those that have their sequence reversed, as in the verse: "yauma tabyaddu wujuh wa taswaddu 
wujuh; fa amma alladhina iswaddat wujuhuhum" 202 (3:106) One group that included the verse: 


Until the white thread of dawn is clear to you from the black thread . 

199 "He has put in place f or you the night and the day, so that you may rest therein and 
seek His bounties." 

200 "And let not your hand be fettered to your neck, nor let it extend without constraints, 
lest you be blamed, or be destitute." 

201 "Did We not find you a n orphan and then protected you. and found you lost, and 
guided you; and found you in want and made you well off. Thus, the orphan you will not wrong, 
and the seeker you will not spurn. 

202 "ON the day when faces will be darkened and faces will be radiant; as for those whose 
faces will be darkened. . ." 

"hatta yaqul '1-rasul wa alladhlna amanu ma^ahu mata nasr Allah; ala inna nasr Allah 
qarib" 203 (2:214) stated that: mata nasr Allah refers to those who believe, whereas: alainna nasr 
Allah qarĔ> refers to the Messenger. 

203 ". . .to the extent that the Messenger and those with him would say: 'Where is the help 
of Allah? By God! the help of God is close by." 

Zamakhsharl has mentioned one other category, which is found in the verse: "wa min 
ayatihi manamukum bi '1-lail wa '1-nahar wa ibtigha'ukum min fadlihi" 204 (30:23) He said: "This 
is a form of involution which implies: wa min ayatihimanamukum wa ibtighaiikum min fadlihl 
bi i-lail wa 1-nahar. Between the words manamukum and wa ibtighaiikum night and day have 
been interspersed because they are units of time. In order to maintain the oneness of the 
involution, time and the event transpiring therein, are treated as a single entity. 
Resemblance ( i-Mushakalah) 

Here, an object is mentioned using the name of some other object because of proximity 
that is either actual, or implied. In the iormer category, is the verse: "talamu ma fi nafsi wa la 
alamu ma fi nafsika" (5:116)and the verse: "wa makaru wa makara Allah" (3:54) The 
Creator is said to have a soul and to plot because His acts are similar to those of the other party. 
The same is true for the verse: "wa jaza'u sayyi'atin sayyi'atun mithluha" 207 (25:40) because the 
word jaza' is positive, and is not described as evil. Other examples are: "fa man rtada ^alaikum 
fa Ttadu x alaih" 208 (2:194); "'1-yaum nansakum ka ma nasitum" 209 (45:34); "fa yaskharun minkum 
sakhira Allah minhum" 210 (9:79) and "innama nahnu mustahzi'un; Allah yastahzi'u 
bihim" 211 (2:14-15) 

204,1 And of His signs is your sleep at night and during the day; and your seeking out of 
His bounties." 

205 "You know what is within me, whereas I know not what is within You." 

206,1 And they plotted and God plotted." 

207,1 And the recompense for evil is evil equal thereto." 

208,1 And as for him who is aggressive towards you: be aggressive towards him." 

209 "This day do We forget you, just as you had Forgotten Us." 

210l And they poke fun at you; God will poke fun at them!" 

211 "We are indeed, only mocking! Allah will mock at them." 

An example of an implied resemblance is the verse: "sibghat Allah" 212 (2:138) which 
implies the purification from God, because faith purifies souls. The basis for this is the Christian 
baptismal of their children in yellow water called the Baptismal Font. They would say: "This is 
to purify them". And thus faith came to be referred to as the 'tinging of God' because of the 
similarity between them. 
Coupling ( i-Muzawaja) 

Here, two meanings are coupled in the conditional phrase and its apodosis, or in that 
which takes their form. An example is the line: 

No sooner did the prohibiter prohibit than passion tormented my being 

No sooner had she heeded the slanderer Than separation tormented her being 
The following appears in the Qur'an: "atainahu ayatina fa insalakha minha fa atba^ahu 'l-shaijan 
fa kana min 'l-ghawln" 213 (7:175) 
Hyperbole ( i-MubMagha) 

Here the speaker hyperbolizes certain attributes such that they exceed the meaning 
intended. These are of two kinds: firstly, hyperbolizing through attributes until they fall outside 
the realm of the possible. Examples are: "yakadu zaituha yudTu wa lau lam tamsashu 
nar" 214 (24:35) and: "wa la yadkhuluna '1-jannat hatta yalija '1-jamal fl samm 'l-khiyaf 215 (7:40) 

Secondly, hyperbolizing through word forms, such as the following: fu lan as in i- 
rahman; fa x Ĕ as mi-rahim), fa x aal as in i-tawwab, i-ghaffar and i-qahhar; fa*ul as in ghafur 
shakur, and wadud; fall as in hadhir, 'ashir, farih"; and fu*M, when it is not doubled, as in 
^ujab, and when doubled, as in: kubbar; fu^al as in lubad, and kubar; fulaas in i-^ulya', i- 
husna, shura, and i-su^a 

Most scholars are of the opinion that the fu lan form is more hyperbolic than fa x i/, which 



213 "Those We give our signs to, who then discards them. Satan then, catches up with him, 
and he becomes of those who stray." 


Its oil seems to illuminate without being touched by fire." 

215,, , 

"And they shall not enter paradise, until the camel is able to go through the eye of a 

is why i-rahman is considered more hyperbolic than i-rahM. '1-Suhaili corroborates this by 
pointing out that because the word appears in the dual form, the meaning is also intensified. It is 
as if the attribute is doubled when used in this particular form. But Ibn '1-Anbari is of the view 
that i-rahM is more hyperbolic than i-rahman. Ibn ^Askar supports this view because i-rahman 
comes first, and because it takes the plural form as in the word, 'abid, which too, is more 
hyperbolic than the dual. Qu|rub however, took the view that they are equally hyperbolic. 

'L-Burhan '1-Rashidi has said that the attributes of the Almighty which appear as 
hyperboles do so figuratively, because while such attributes do indeed serve to hyperbolize 
generally, in this specific case there is no hyperbole. A hyperbole, after all, is to impute 
attributes to an object which are greater than the object itself, whilst the attributes of the 
Almighty are so infinitely perfect that they preclude being hyperbolized. Also, hyperboles occur 
in attributes open to increases and decreases, whereas God's attributes are absolved of such 
changes. This view has been approved by the master, Taql '1-DIn '1-SubukI 

And in the work i-Burhan 'L-Zarkashl has said that close scrutiny suggests two forms of 
the hyperbole: one, where the hyperbole is achieved by intensifying the act, and two, where it is 
achieved by multiplying the objects. No doubt, a multiplication as such, does not hyperbolize the 
act, for one single act may also be performed by an entire group of people. The attributes of God 
may be construed thus, in order to avert the foregoing criticism. Which is why some scholars 
have said that the hyperbole in the attribute i-hakM, refers to the application of His law to 
multiple legal systems. 

The following appears in the work i-Kashshaf.: The hyperbole in the attribute i-tawwab 
alludes to His pardon of a multitude of His servants, or to His profound magnanimity when 
pardoning, or to His clemency which is so enormous that the sinner on being forgiven is 
transformed, as if he never did sin. 

And in regard to the verse: "wa Allah x ala kull shai'in qadir" 216 (2:284) one prominent 
scholar asked: Given that the word qadOr is a hyperbole, it follows therefore, that it should 
intensify the meaning of the word qadir. But this is impossible in the case of God. In cases such 
as this, where ascription of the hyperbole to each object would be problematic, it is instead 


And God has full control over every possible thing." 

ascribed to the collective whole to which the context points. The hyperbole is thus related to the 
collective whole, rather than to a particular attribute. 
Antithesis ( l-Mufabaqa) 

Here, opposites are combined in a single sentence. It is also known as 'l-fibaq, and is of 
two kinds: the literal and the figurative. The latter is called Equivalence ( 'l-takafu ). Each of them 
furthermore, is further divided into the verbal and the semantical, the positive and the negative. 

Examples hereof are: "falyadhaku qalllan walyabku kathiran" 217 (9:82); "wa annahu huwa 
adhaku wa abka; wa annahu huwa amata wa ahya" 218 (53:43); "li kaila ta'sau "ala ma fatakum wa 
la tafrahu bima atakum" 219 (57:23); "wa tahsabuhum aiqazan wa hum ruqud" 220 (18:18) 

Examples of the figurative are: "a wa man kana maitan fa ahyaynahu" 221 (6:122) that is, 
"He was misguided, and We set him aright." 

An example of the negative antithesis is: "talamu ma fi nafsi wa la alamu ma fi 
nafsika" 222 (5:116)and the verse: "fa la takhsha'u '1-nas wa ikhshauni" 223 (5:44) 

An example of the semantical is the verse: "in antum illa takdhibun qalu rabbuna yalam 
inna ilaikum la mursalun" 224 (36:15,16) This means: 'Our Lord knows that we are being truthful." 
And the verse: "ja^ala lakum '1-ard firashan wa '1-sama'a bina'an" 225 (2:22) Abu 'Ala '1-Farisi said: 
"because the word bz'na 'suggests an elevated building it is contrasted with its opposite, firash. 

217 "Laugh then, a little, for they will weep a lot." 

218 'For it is He who causes laughter, and weeping; and it is He who causes death and 
gives life." 

219 "That you not despair over what eludes you, and not rejoice over what comes your 

220,1 And you would have considered them awake, when they were in fact sleeping." 

221 "Is he who was dead, and who We resurrected. . ." 

222 "You know what is in me, whilst I know not what is in You." 

223 "And be not afraid of men, but be afraid of Me. 

224 "You are no more than liars! They said: 'Our Lord knows that we have indeed, been 
sentto you." 


He made the earth as a spread for you, and the sky, a canopy.' 

And to this category belongs what is known as the Subtle Antithesis ( i-Tibaq i-Khafiyy) 
such as the verse: "min ma khap'atihim 'ughriqu fa 'udkhilu naran" 226 (71:25) Because drowning 
is related to water the impression given here is that of being punished with both water and Fire. 
Ibn '1-Munqidh has said: "This is the subtlest antithesis found in the Qur'an. Ibn 'l-]vhf tazz has 
said: "One of the subtlest and most elegant examples of the antithesis is the statement of the 
Almighty: "wa lakum fi 'l-qisas hayat" 227 (2:179) Because the word qisasmeans to kill, the 
impression given is that killing is in fact a source of life. 
Partial Conformity (Tarsf 1-Kalkm) 

And to this category belongs what is known as Partial Conformity (tarsT i-kalam) Here, 
one element is coupled with another such element which shares only some of its qualities. Thus 
in the verse: "inna laka an la tajiTa flha wa la ta^ra; wa annaka la tazma x u fiha wa la tadM" 
228 (20:118,119) hunger is coupled with nakedness, although it ought to be with thirst. And 
similarly, sunburn is coupled with thirst, although it ought to be with nakedness. But hunger and 
nakedness are both equally empty: in the former case it is without food, and in the latter, without 
clothing. Similarly, thirst and sunburn both emit burning sensations: in the former it is the 
burning in the stomach, and in the latter it is the burning of the outer skin caused by the heat of 
the sun. 
The Contrast ( 1-Muqabalat) 

And to this category belongs what is known as the Contrast ('1-Muqabalat), where one or 
more words are mentioned, followed sequentially, by their opposites. Ibn Abu '1-Isbr has said: 
"The Antithesis and the Contrast differ in two ways: Firstly, in the Antithesis comprising only of 
opposites and the Contrast comprising of between four to ten items. Secondly, in the Antithesis 
coupling opposites only, and the Contrast coupling both opposites, as well as other items. 

226,1 And because of their sins they were drowned and doomed to the Fire." 

227 "And for you there is life in retribution." 

228 "You will not need go hungry therein, or be naked; and you will not thirst therein nor 
will you burn." 

'L-Sakakl has said: "Peculiar to the Contrast is juxtaposing an element in the first part 
with its opposite in the second. An example is the statement of the Almighty: "f a amma man a x Ja 
wa ittaqa. . ," 229 (92:5) were charity and stinginess are juxtaposed. Also juxtaposed are: God 
consciousness and self sufficiency, affirming and denying the truth, and difficulty and ease. And 
because the quality of ease is embodied in the first group among words signifying charity, God 
consciousness, and the affirmation of the truth, hardship, its opposite, is embodied in all of its 

Some scholars are of the opinion that contrasts occur among single items, albeit rarely, as 
in the verse: "La ta'khudhuhu sinat wa la naum" 230 (2:255), or in twos, as in: "fal yadhak qalllan 
walyabku kathiran" 231 (9:82); in threes, as in: "ya'muruhum bi 'l-ma x ruf wa yanhahum x an '1- 
munkar wa yuhill lahum '1-Jayyibat wa yuharrimu ^alaihim '1-khaba'ith" 232 (7:157) and "wa 
'ushkuru H wa la takfurun" 233 (2:152); in fours as in: "fa amma man a^a. . ." 234 (92:5); in fives, as 
in: "inna Allah la yastahyi an yadriba mathalan ma. . ," 235 (2:26) (where the following words are 
coupled: ba^udatfa ma fauqaha and fa ammaalladhma amanu; amma alladhma kafaru and 
yudillu and yahdi; yanqudun and mRhaqahu; and yaqfa* uha and anyusala.); and sixes, as 
in:"zuyyina li '1-nas hubb '1-shahawat. . .qul a'unabbi'ukum" 236 (3:14,15) In this last verse the 
following words have been coupled: 'l-jannat, i-anhar, i-khuld, i-azwaj, i-tafnm, and i-ridwan 
and juxtaposed to: i-nisa', i-banih, i-dhahab, i-fiddat, i-khail i-musawwama, i-anam and i- 

229,1 And as for the one who gives and is God fearing. . ." 

230 "Neither slumber nor sleep overcomes him." 

231 "So laugh a little, and you will soon be weeping a lot. 

232 'He enjoins upon them good deeds, warns them against iniquity, makes lawful for them 
good things, and makes unlawful for them the bad things." 

233,1 And be thankful to me, and do not deny my bounties." 

234 And as for the one who gives. . ." 

235 "And God is not embarrassed to present the parable of. . ." 

236,1 Attractive to men are the pleasures of desires. . .Say! Shall I inform you. . ." 

The other form of the Contrast is classified as Synonymous (NazM), Antonymous 
(Naqidl), and Dissimilar (Khilati). The first appears in the verse, "wa tahsabuhum aiqazan wa 
hum ruqud" 237 (18:18) where i-sinat is contrasted to i-naum, both of which imply sleep, the 
opposite of wakeMness This same verse serves as an example of the second category because 
these two terms are also contradictory. The third category is exemplified by the verse: "wa anna 
la nadri a sharr 'urida bi man fi '1-ard am arada bihim rabbuhum rashadan" 238 (72:10) where evil 
is contrasted with good. These two terms {sharr and rashad) are dissimilar and not antonymous, 
for the antonym of i-sharr is i-khair and of i-rushd is i-ghayy. 
Concealment ( i-Mwwaribat) 

Here the speaker utters something objectionable, and when this elicits a rebuke he 
adroitly mitigates its effects by using devices such as word distortions, mispronunciations, 
additions and omissions. Ibn Abu '1-Isbr has said: 'To this category belongs the statement of the 
Almighty "irjTu ila ablkum fa qulu ya abana inna ibnaka saraq" 239 (12:81) which relates the 
words of Jacob's eldest son, This verse has also been reconfigured by replacing the fatha with a 
damma and by doubling the ra'and giving it a kasra to read: inna ibnaka surriqa wa lamyasriq 
In this form it reflects the events as they occurred. 
Recollection ( i-Murajaa) 

237 "You would have considered them awake, when in fact they were asleep." 

238 And we may not know whether evil is intended for those on earth, or whether their 
Lord wishes them righteousness." 

239 "Return to your father, and tell him: "O our Father! Your son has indeed been stolen." 

Ibn Abu '1-Isbr has said: 'It is when the speaker recalls a conversation between him and a 
partner, using the tersest of statements, the most balanced structure, and the most elegant words. 
To this category belongs the statement of the Almighty: "qala inni jiTiluka li '1-nas imaman; qala 
wa min dhurriyyati qala la yanalu ^ahdi 'l-zalimin" 240 (2:124) This statement, comprising only a 
part of the verse, encompasses three recollections. These include: the message and the inquiry, 
the command and the prohibition, the promise and the threat, in explicit and implicit forms. I 
maintain that it is preferable to say that the verse combines the message and the requisition, the 
affirmation and the negation, the emphasis and the omission, good news and a warning, and the 
promise and the threat. 
Purity ( i-Nazaha) 

This is to purge the alphabet of the letters which together construct indecent language, 
until they fit the description of Abu x Amr b. "KAla'. When asked about the best form that the 
letters of the alphabet could take, Abu x Amr replied: "Even when uttered by a virgin in her 
chamber such words should not be considered indecent." 

To this category belongs the verse: "wa idha du^u ila Allah wa rasulihi li yahkuma 
bainahum idha fariq minhum nuT ridun . . .a fi qulubihim marad am iratabu am yakhaMna an 
yahifa Allah ^alaihim wa rasuluhuu; bal 'ula'ika hum 'l-zalimun" 241 (24:48,50) The words used to 
rebuke those under discussion is free of all language considered indecent. The Qur'an is 
uniformly like this. 
Creative Styles ( t-Ibda) 

This is language that encompasses numerous forms of good style . Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" has 
said: "I have seen no other statement of the Almighty like the verse: "ya ard' iblal ma^aki. . . " 
242 (11:44) It contains twenty forms of good style, and it has but seventeen letters! They include 
the following: 

240 "He said: 'I am making you a leader of men." He said: And of my progeny!" he said : 
'My covenant does not embrace the iniquitous." 

241 "And when invited to submit to God and to His Messenger ruling among them some 
among them turn away. . .is there disease in their hearts, or do they doubt, or are they afraid that 
God and His messenger will be unjust to them? Rather, they are the unjust." 

242 "0 Earth! Swallow up your water!" 

A. 1-Munasabat 1-tamma, or Total Correlation, between, for instance, the words ibla 7and 

iqli z 
B. T-Isti ^ara, or Metaphor: as found in both the above terms 

C. T-Tibaq, or Antithesis: between the words 1-ard' and 1-sama'. 

D. T-Majaz, or Figurative language: as in the words yasama' which literally, would be: ya 

mapr 1-sama' 
E. T-Isharat, or Allusion: as in the words ghid' 1-maii. This phrase expresses several ideas, 

because water as such does not recede until the rains from the sky stop, the earth absorbs 

the waters spouting from springs etc, and the waters on the face of the earth dry up. In 

this way the water that is collected on the f ace of the earth diminishes. 
F. T-Irdaf, or Accompaniment, as found in the words wa istawat. 

G. T-TamthĔ, or Similitude: as found in the words wa qudiya 'l- 'amr. 
H. T-Ta 7i/, or Cause: as in the words ghid 'l-maii which gives reasons why the ship came 

to a rest. 
I. Sihhat 1-Taqsim, or Proper Assortment: found in the description of the various forms of 

water receding. Apart from the waters of the sky, the waters that gush forth from the 

earth, and waters that flow on the earth, no other source of water exists that had to stop 

J. T-lhtiras fi 1-Du^a' or Circumspection in the Invocation: The invocation was 

circumspect, lest it give the impression that those not deserving were also included in this 

destruction. The Almighty's justice requires that the innocent not be included among 

those cursed. 
K. Husn 1-Nusuq wa I'ti\af 1-Tafz: This refers to the elegant and symmetrical pairing of 

words to meanings. 
L. T-Ijaz, or Brevity: and this is because the Almighty narrated this story using the tersest 

of sentences. 
M. T-TashOn, or Circularity: and this is because the beginning of the verse points to its end. 
N. T-Tahdhh or Refinement: because the words used, all have good qualities. Each word is 

easily pronounced, is graceMly eloquent, free of ugliness and a tangled form. 
O. Husn 1-Bayan, or Elegant Style: in the sense that the listener understands the meaning of 

the statements without hesitation, and any difficulty to comprehend. 

P. L-Tamkm, or Sound Structure: and this is because the verses are appropriately located, 

harmoniously contextualized, without seeming awkward, or seeking undue attention. 

Q. L-Insijam or Harmony, which refers to the graceml, and pleasant declivity of the 

statements, using words that are stylistically pure. It resembles the graceful flow of pools 
of water, gently shifted by the wind." 

This is what Ibn Abu '1-Isbr had to say. I would add, that it also contains i-i ^tirad or 

Parenthetical Statements. 

A Classif ication of the Exegetes 

Of the Companions, the following ten have gained prominence in Qur'anic 
exegesis: the 4 Caliphs, 7\bd Allah b. Mas^ud, 'Abd Allah b. 7\bbas, Ubayy b. Ka^b, Zaid 
b. Thabit, Abu Musa 'l-Ashfarl and 'Abd Allah b. Zubair. 

As for the caliphs, the bulk of their transmissions are from x Ali; the others, 
perhaps because of their early deaths, have not quite made the same contribution. The 
transmissions from Abu Bakr are so few in number that I am unable to recall more than 
ten interpretations from him on the Qur'an. 

Much has been transmitted from 'All, for as Ma^mar reports, from Wahb b. 'Abd 
Allah that Abu 'l-Tufail said: "I was present when 'All said in a sermon, "By God, ask me, 
for I am certainly able to answer all your questions. Ask me about the Book of God for I 
am most knowledgeable about every single verse therein. I know when it was revealed, 
at night or during the day, and where, on the mountains or the plains." 

Abu Nu^aim in his work 1-tjulya quotes Ibn Mas^ud as saying: "The Qur'an was 
revealed in seven dialects each of which has an exoteric as well as an esoteric 
meaning, and 'All b. Abu Talib had full knowledge of both. Another report is from Abu 
Bakr b. 'Ayyash from Nusair b. Sulaiman 'l-Ahmasl from his father, who heard 'All say: 
"I know full well the time and the circumstances around which every single verse was 
revealed. My Lord has indeed, granted me an intelligent mind, and an inquiring tongue." 

As for Ibn Mas^ud, more has been narrated from him than from X AII. Thus Ibn 
Jarlr and others quote him as saying, "By Him, besides Whom there is no other deity, I 
have full knowledge of every verse, and the time and the circumstances of its revelation. 
If I learnt of a place, accessible to me, where someone more knowledgeable than I 
lived, I would certainly seek him out." Abu Nu^aim quotes Abu 'l-Bukhtarl as having said, 
"They asked X AH: 'Tell us about Ibn Mas^ud.' He replied, 'He studied no more than the 
Qur'an and the Sunna, and that for him was sufficient." 

As for Ibn 7\bbas, he is the interpreter of the Qur'an , par excellence, for whom 
the Prophet (s) himself had invoked the following prayer: O God! grant him 
understanding of the religion and teach him the interpretation of the Qur'an!" He also 
prayed thus: "O God! Grant him wisdom!", and: "O God! teach him wisdom!" 


Abu Nif aim, in his work 1-tjulya quotes Ibn 'Urmar as saying: "The Prophet (s) 
prayed for Ibn 7\bbas thus: 'O God! Bless him and disperse his teachings." In addition, 
he narrated from 'Abd 'l-Mu'min b. Khalid from 'Abd Allah b. Buraida that Ibn 'Abbas 
said, I got to the Prophet when Gabriel, who was also present, had this to say about me: 
'He is destined to be the scholar of this community, so advise him well." 

And he narrates through 'Abd Allah b. Khirash from 'l-'Awwarm b. Houshib from 
Mujahid who quotes Ibn 'Abbas as saying: "The Prophet (s) said to me, 'You are indeed 
the expositor of the Qur'an , par excellence." 'I-Baihaqi, in his work, 1-Dalall, quotes Ibn 
Mas^ud as saying "'Abd Allah b. 7\bbas is an excellent interpreter of the Qur'an ". Abu 
Nu^aim narrates from Mujahid who said: "Ibn 'Abbas, because of his immense 
knowledge, was known as the ocean." He quotes Ibn 'l-Hanafiyya as saying: "Ibn 
7\bbas was the religious authority of this community." He quotes 'l-Hasan as saying 
that Ibn 'Abbas' relationship with the Qur'an was such that 'Umar used to say: "As for 
this mature young lad, he has an inquiring tongue and an intelligent mind." He also 
reports, on the authority of 'Abd Allah b. Dinar that a man approached Ibn 'Umar and 
asked about the verse: ""l-samawat wa 'l-ard kanata ratqan fa fataqnahuma" ^(^l^SO) He 
replied: 'Go and ask Ibn 'Abbas, then come back and inform rme.' On doing so he was 
told: 'The heavens were unbroken, not able to produce rain, and the earth too, unable 
to yield vegetation. The former was then cleaved asunder by rain, and the latter by 
vegetation.' The man returned to Ibn 'Umar and informed him. He then said, 'I used to 
say that I was far from impressed by Ibn 'Abbas' audacity to interpret the Qur'an, but I 
now understand that he is indeed endowed with much knowledge." 

h '. . . the heavens and the earth were once a single entity, which we then cleaved 

Bukhari reports through SaTd b. Jubair from Ibn 'Abbas who said: '"Umar was in 
the habit of including me in the company of the seniors of Badr and that displeased one 
into uttering: 'Why do you include this person among us; we have sons his age!' 'Umar 
replied: 'he is of the calibre of those who taught you.'And one day he invited them and 
me, I believe, to prove this to them. He said, 'What is your opinion with regard to the 
verse: "idha ja'a nasr Allah wa 'l-fath" 2 (110:l) Some said: 'We're being instructed to 
praise God and seek His absolution when He assists us and grants us victory.' Others 
however, remained silent, and said nothing. He then turned to me and said: "Is this what 
you say as well? O Ibn 'Abbas ?' I said , 'No'. He then said: "What do you say?" I said: 
'lt portends to the Prophet(s) his own death." He then said: the verse: 'When God's 
help arrives, and with it, victory." is a sign of your impending death.' And "Therefore, 
praise your Lord and seek His forgiveness; He is indeed most forgiving.' 'Umar then 
said: 'I know it only as you have explained." 

He also reports through Ibn Maliika from Ibn 'Abbas that 'Urmar once said to the 
Companions of the Prophet (s): "In your opinion, who does the following verse apply to: 
"a yawaddu ahadukum an takuna jannatun min nakhll wa 'a^nab" 3 (2:266) They said: 
"God knows best! This angered 'Urmar and he said: 'Either say that you do know or that 
you don't!' I on the other hand, did have an opinion on the matter. He then turned to me 
and said: 'Nephew, speak and do not sell yourself short." I said, 'A parable symbolizing 
hard work is being presented.' 'Urmar then asked, 'What kind of work?' I said, 'The 
parable of a man who first works in obedience to God and is then incited by satan to 
indulge in evil, so much so that he ultimately ruins his good deeds.' 

Ibn Nu^aim narrates from Muhammad b. Ka^b 'l-Qurazhi from Ibn 'Abbas that 
'Umar b. 'I-Khattab was in the company of a group of "Settler Companions" (muhajirun) 
when they began discussing the "night of power". 'Umar then said, 'Why Ibn 'Abbas, 
you haven't said a word! Speak and let not the discussion intimidate you. Ibn 'Abbas 
said, O, Commander of the Faithful, God is Single, without partner and He loves actions 

2, When God's succor comes, and victory. . . ' 

3, Would one of you like to have a garden of date-palms and vines. . . ?" 

that end similarly. Thus He has decreed that the rotations of the earth be seven (ending 
that is, in an odd number) Above us He has created seven heavens and below us seven 
earths. Of the divine writ He has given us seven. In His scripture He forbids marriage to 
seven categories of relatives, and He has distributed the inheritance therein, among 
seven heirs. We prostrate, in prayer, on seven parts of our bodies. The Prophet (s) 
circamambulated the Ka^ba, walked between Safa and Marwa, and pelted the jamarat, 
seven times in each case. I therefore believe that this sacred night falls in the last seven 
nights of the month of Ramadan. 'Umar, who was amazed, said, 'No one concurs with 
me in this regard but this lad who has not quite matured yet.' Then he said, 'O you 
people! Who is able to serve me in this regard like Ibn 'Abbas?' 

Innumerable interpretations, through various channels, have been reported from 
Ibn 'Abbas, of which, that of 'Ali b. Abu Talhah 'l-Hashmi is the soundest. Abu JaTar b. 
Nahhas, in his work on abrogations, cites Ahrmad b. Hanbal as saying: "In Egypt is an 
exegetical work narrated by 7\li b. Talha; going that distance in search of it, would 
certainly not be too far. According to Ibn Hajr, this particular copy, which was in the 
possession of Abu Salih the scribe of 'l-Laith, the jurist, was transmitted by way of 
Mu^awiya b. Salih from 'Ali b. Abu Talha from Ibn 'Abbas. In Bukharl's version however, 
the transmission is from Abu Salih. Bukharl uses this particular manuscript a great deal 
with reference to traditions attributed to Ibn 7\bbas. Others who do so include do Ibn 
Jarlr, Ibn Abu Hatirm, and Ibn 'l-Mundhir, all by way of Abu Salih. Some scholars maintain 
that Ibn Abu Talha did not hear this directly from Ibn 'Abbas but from Mujahid or Sa^Id b. 
Jubair. But no harm is done anyway, as Ibn Hajr maintains, because these sources are, 
after all, sound as well. 

'I-Khallll in his work, 1-lrshad, says that the exegesis of Mu^awiya b. Salih, the 
qadl of Andalus, taken from 'All b. Abu Talha, from Ibn 'Abbas, is also narrated by some 
senior scholars by way of Abu Salih, 'l-Laith's scribe, through Mu^awiya. Hadith scholars 
agree that Ibn Abu Talha did not hear this directly from Ibn 'Abbas. 'I-Khallll says that 
lengthy exegeses, like the one attributed to Ibn 'Abbas are unacceptable because the 
narrators are unknown. Such is the case with the exegesis of Juwaibir from 'l-Dahhak, 
from Ibn 'Abbas. 

A group of scholars have reported some questionable exegetical matter from Ibn 
Jurayj the longest of which is that which Bikr b. Sahl 'l-Dimyati narrates from 'Abd 'I- 
Ghanl b. SaTd from Musa b. Muhammad from Ibn Jurayj. And then there is the 
transmission of Muhammad b. Thaur from Ibn Jurayj in some three volumes, that Ibn 
Hajr confirms as authentic. 'I-Hajjaj b. Muhammad has also narrated almost one volume 
of authentic material from Ibn Jurayj which is documented in the works of Bukharl and 

The exegesis of Shibl b. 'Abbad 'l-Makkl transmitted from Ibn Abu Najlh from 
Mujahid from Ibn 7\bbas is almost sound. And the exegesis of 'Ata b. Dinar is both 
recorded and utilized as proof text. The exegesis of Abu Rauq, of approximately one 
chapter has also been authenticated by the scholars. As for the exegesis of IsrmaTI 'I- 
Suddi, it has several chains of transmission to Ibn Mas^ud and Ibn 'Abbas. 'I-Suddi is 
quoted by several scholars including 'l-Thauri and Shu^ba, but the exegesis that he 
compiled is narrated by Asbaj b. Nasr, but scholars are not unanimous about him. This 
notwithstanding, the exegesis of 'l-Suddi is certainly one of the finest. As for Ibn Jurayj, 
he was not aiming for authenticity; instead, he rmerely transmitted all interpretations, the 
sound ones as well as the weak ones, that existed on every verse. And the exegesis of 
Muqatil b. Sulaiman-who had contact with senior fabf i/n,'-the author himself considered 
this exegesis weak, although 'l-Shafn found it acceptable." 

The exegesis of 'l-Suddi referred to above, is often quoted by Ibn Jarlr by way of 
the following chains of authority: 'l-Suddi from Abu Malik; from Abu Salih from Ibn 
'Abbas; from Murra from Ibn Mas^ud, and also from several other Companions. Abu 
'Hatirm, because of his pre-occupation with authentic traditions, narrated nothing from 'I- 
Suddi. 'I-Hakim however, does narrate and authenticate some material from the former 
in his work, 1-Mustadrak, but not from the first chain of transmission. He does so 
quoting Ibn Mas^ud and some other scholars. According to Ibn Kathir, the chains of 
authority that 'l-Suddi uses contains some unknown sources. 

One source to Ibn 'Abbas that is both sound and in compliance with the criteria 
of the sahih works, is that of Qais from 'Aja' b. Sa^ib from Sa^id b. Jubair from Ibn 
'Abbas. Both 'l-Faryabi and 'l-Hakim in his work 1-Mustadrak, quote this source 


extensively. Another sound source is that of Ibn lshaq from Muhammad b. Abu 
Muhammad, the free-man of the Companion, Zayd b. Thabit, from 'Ikrirma, or from Sa^id 
b. Jubair, from Ibn 'Abbas, as is, with this repetition. This is a good source with an 
acceptable chain of transmission that has been used extensively by both Ibn Jarlr and 
Ibn Abu Hatirm, and much of this material is found in 'l-fabarani's work, 1-Mu^jam. 

The most untenable source, one used extensively by 'l-Thalabi and 'l-Wahidi, is 
that of 'l-Kalbi from Abu Salih from Ibn 'Abbas, and when the transmission of 
Muhammad b. Marwan, 'l-Suddi junior, is appended thereto, it becomes a chain of 
deceit. But Ibn 'Adiyy in his work, 1-Kamil says that 'l-Kalbi does indeed possess 
authentic reports, particularly those that obtain from Ibn Salih, a renowned exegete. 
None in fact, has an exegesis lengthier than his, nor one that is as satisfying. After him, 
comes the exegesis of Muqatil b. Sulaiman, except for the fact that 'l-Kalbi is preferred 
over him; this because the former includes in his sources vile sects. The chain of 'I- 
Dahhak b. Muzahim from Ibn 'Abbas is broken because he had not met the latter. And 
the report of Bishr b. 'Imara from Abu Rauq when appended thereto, is considered weak 
because of Bishr's weakness. This text nonetheless, has been used extensively by Ibn 
Juraij and Ibn Abu 'Hatirm although both have avoided using the Juwaibir text. And even 
weaker are reports from Juwaibir from 'l-Dahhak, because Juwaibir is extremely weak 
and thus abandoned. Neither Ibn Jarir, nor Ibn Abu Hatim report a thing using this path; 
those who do are Ibn Mardawaih and Ibn 'Hayyan. 

As for 'l-'Aufi's report from Ibn 'Abbas, it has been cited often by Ibn Jarir and Ibn 
Abu Hatim; and 'l-'Aufi, while weak, is nonetheless, not a baseless source. In some 
cases, in fact, 'l-'l-Tirmidhi considered him sound. I have seen a report in the work 
Fadail 1-lmam 1-Shaf'fio\ Abu Abd Allah, Muhammad b, Shakir 'l-Qaftan in which the 
latter, using a line of transmission from Ibn Abd 'l-Hakam says: 'I heard 'l-ShafiT say: 
'Barring approximately a hundred traditions, nothing authentic has been reported from 
Ibn 'Abbas regarding exegesis. 

As for Ubayy b. Ka^b, several reports have been reported from him by Abu JaTar 
'l-Razi from 'l-Rabf b. Anas from Abu 'l-^Aliya from Ibn 'Abbas. This is indeed, an 

authentic chain of transmitters , one which Ibn Jarlr and Ibn Abu 'Hatirm cited often, as 
did 'l-Hakim in his work 1-Mustadrak, and Ahrmad in his work, 1-Musnad. 

Apart from the foregoing, a small amount of exegetical material from the following 
Companions have also been transmitted: Anas, Abu Huraira, Ibn 'Urmar, Jabir, and Abu 
Musa 'l-Asrfari. Also, material dealing with narratives, dissension reports, and the 
herearter, have been reported by 'Abd Allah b. 7\mr b. 'l-'As. This is material obtained 
by him from the People of the Book, of which, his exegesis of the following verse is an 
example: "fizhulal min 'l-ghamam" 4 (2:210) My book, mentioned heretofore, includes all 
that has been narrated in this regard by the Companions. 

The TabPun 

Ibn Taymiyya says: "Because of their friendship with Ibn 'Abbas those most 
knowledgeable in exegesis are the people of Mecca such as Mujahid, 'Aja' b. Abu 
Rabah, 'Ikrimah, the freedman of Ibn 'Abbas, SaTd b. Jubair, Tawus, and others. In 
Kufa, similarly, were the companions of Ibn Mas^ud. Then there were the scholars of 
exegesis from Medina such as Zaid b. Aslam who was a source for his son, 'Abd 'I- 
Rahman b. Zaid and Malik b. Anas." Of the most outstanding of these scholars is 
Mujahid. 'I-Fadl b. Mayrrmn said: "I heard Mujahid say: 'I reviewed the Qur'an in the 
presence of Ibn 'Abbas thirty times!" And in another report: "I reviewed the Qur'an in 
the presence of Ibn 'Abbas thrice, stopping at each of its verses to ask him its whys and 
wherefores." Khusaif said that the most knowledgeable of them in exegesis was 
Mujahid. And 'l-Thauri said: "Exegesis that comes to you from Mujahid should suffice 
you." Ibn Taymiyya said: "This is why 'l-Shafi'l, 'l-Bukhari, and others scholars depended 
upon his exegesis." I must say that while most of 'l-Faryabi's citations are from Mujahid, 
those from Ibn 'Abbas and others are few in number. 

Sa^id b. Jubair is another outstanding scholar of exegesis, of whom Sufyan 'I- 
Thauri said: "Take exegetical material from four scholars: SaTd b. Jubair, Mujahid, 
'Ikrima, and 'l-Dahhak." Qatada said: "The most knowledgeable of the tabi^un are four: 
'A^a' b. Abu Rabaha in the rituals of pilgrimage; Sa^id b. Jubair in exegesis; 'Ikrima in 

4 ". . .in the shadows of the clouds. . . " 

military campaigns; and 'l-Hasan in the lawtul and the prohibited." 

'Ikrirma, the treedman of Ibn 'Abbas, is another such scholar about whom 'I- 
ShTabi had this to say: "No one more knowledgeable in the Book of God than 'Ikrima 
remains." Samrmak b. Harb reports that he heard 'Ikrirma say: "I have explained 
everything between the covers of the Qur'an ." And 'Ikrima also said: "Ibn 'Abbas used 
to fetter my feet while teaching me the Qur'an and the sunna!" And Ibn Abu Hatim 
reports that Sammak heard him say: "Everything I tell you about the Qur'an is from Ibn 

Also in this category are the following senior scholars, of whom most had 
received their education from the Companions: 'l-Hasan 'l-Basri, 'Aja b. Abu Rabah, 
'Aja' b. Abu Salama 'l-Khurasani, Muhammad b. Ka^b 'l-Quradhi, Abu 'l-^AIiya, 'l-Dahhak 
b. Muzahim, 'Ajiyya 'l-'Aufi, Qatada, Zaid b. Aslam, Murra 'l-Hamadani, Abu Malik. 
These are followed by: 'l-Rabf b. Anas and 'Abd 'l-Rahman b. Zaid b. Aslam. 

Following this category exegetical compilations of the views of the Companions 
and the Tabib^un appeared, such as the exegesis of Sufyan ibn 'Uyyana, Wakf b. 'I- 
Jarrah, Shu^ba b. 'I-Hajjaj, Yazid b. Hanln, 'Abd 'l-Razzaq, Adam b. Abu lyas, lshaq b. 
Rahawaih, Rauh b. 'Ubada, 'Abd b. Humaid, Sunaid, and Abu Bakr b. Abu Shaiba 
among others. 

After them comes Ibn Jarir 'l-f abari whose work is by far, the greatest and the 
most sublime of all, followed by Ibn Abu 'Hatim, Ibn Majah, 'l-Hakim, Ibn Mardawaih, Abu 
'l-Shaikh b. 'Hayyan and Ibn 'l-Mundhir. All of these works contain no more than the 
sayings of the Companions and the tabPun, all that is, except for Ibn Jarir's, which 
focuses as well, on categorizing the different opinions, on analyzing the grammar, and 
on deriving proofs. In that regard it is superior to the rest. 

Hereafter many people compiled exegetical works by paraphrasing the chains of 
authority, or narrating mere fragments of opinion. Interpolations thus crept in, mixing 
sound and weak materials, and thus allowing anyone with an opinion to state his 
opinion. And if some thought crossed someone's mind he would give it credence while 
his successors recorded this believing its credibility. In so doing they did not so much as 
glance at the works of the pious ancestors and those generally consulted for 


commentaries. Thus have I found no less than ten opinions on the statement of the 
Almighty, "ghair 'l-maghdub 'alaihim wa la 'l-dallin" 5 (1:7) That this refers to the Jews 
and the Christians respectively, is explained by the Prophet (s), by the Companions, the 
tabPun, and their successors, to the extent that Ibn Abu 'Hatirm was able to say: "I know 
of no differences among the exegetes on this matter." 

Thereafter, scholars who were experts in a particular area of study began 
compiling works, each in his respective area of expertise. Thus grammarians such as 'I- 
Zajjaj, 'l-Wahidi in his work 1-BasR and Abu 'Hayyan in 1-Bahr and 1-Nahr produced 
works on grammar, discussing therein multiple opinions pertaining to the etymology of 
the verses, their minutiae, and to the conflicts. Chroniclers such as 'l-Thalabi did no 
more than relate stories in exhaustive detail, or provide anecdotes, both true and false, 
about past personalities. Jurists such as 'l-Cjurjubi on the other hand, set forth in great 
detail every possible rule of fiqh, from the section on purity to that on slaves who bear 
their master's children. On occasion, they even provide proofs for some legal minutiae, 
or against the views of an opponent that are in no way related to the verse at hand. 
Scholars, particularly of the ilk of 'l-lmam Fakhr 'l-Din, who excel in rational discourse 
often fill their commentaries with the sayings of the sages, philosophers and the like, 
and thus flit from one idea to another, so much so that the onlooker finds no connection 
between their sources and the verse in question. Ibn 'Hayyan, in the work 1-Bahr said: 
"The fact that 'l-lmarm 'l-Razi in his exegesis collected many rather lengthy, material 
unrelated to this science, prompted some scholars to remark that his exegesis is 
packed with all kinds of details except tafsir\ 

5 ". . . and not the path of those who have earned your anger, nor those who have 
gone astray." 

Then there is the innovator whose only purpose is to distort verses and concoct 
links with his corrupt ways. Such a person avails himselt of any apparent anomaly and 
hastens towards any spot usetul to his cause. 'I-Bulqini says: "I have, on close 
examination, found in the work 1-Kashshaf, in its commentary of the following verse, a 
view that is of the Mu'tazilite sect : "fa man zuhziha 'an 'l-nar wa 'udkhila 'l-jannat fa qad 
faz" 6 (3:185) What greater accomplishment can there be to entering Heaven! He thus 
implies that there will be no beholding of God. 

6 ". . .whoever is drawn away from the fire and allowed to enter heaven. . ." 


As for the heretic, pray, what is there to say about his denial of the true signs of 
God and his concoctions against Him. He remarks, for instance, with reference to the 
verse: "in hiya illa fitnatuka" 7 (7:155)! that there is none more harmful to the servants of 
God than God himself! His views with regard to the magicians in the Moses incident are 
analogous to this, as are those of the Rafidites 8 in their commentary of the verse: 
"ya'muruka an tadhbahu baqarat" 9 (2:67) The Prophet's (s) statement, as reported by 
Abu Yala and others, from Hudhaifa can only apply to such interpretations. He said: 
"There are people in my community who, when reciting the Qur'an , do so as if they are 
separating rotten dates from good ones-they interpret the Qur'an inappropriately." If 
asked what kind of exegesis should be promoted, I would reply: that of Ibn Jarir 'I- 
f abari; his commentary, accorfing to all reputable scholars, is unparalleled." 'I-Nawawi 
thus comments in his work 1-TahzĔ> that no one has compiled a book on tatsir 
comparable to Ibn Jarlr's. 

I have thus embarked on the compilation of a comprehensive exegesis that 
addresses all aspects: that which was transmitted (manqulat), as well as that which was 
arrived at through rational discourse (maquiaf); that which was derived(/sf/njbaf) as well 
as that which was alluded to (isharat); the etymological (rrab) as well as the dialectical 
(1-lughat); the rhetorical (1-balagha), as well as the metaphor (1-badr), as well as other 
material as would obviate recourse to any other source. I have entitled it Majma 1- 
Bahrain wa matla 1-Badarain and made the work at hand an introduction to it. I 
beseech God, in the name of Muhammad, to help in its completion. 

Thus have we come to the end of our objective in writing the present work. We 
conclude by relating important exegetical material, other than on the reasons for 
revelation, that can be ascribed to the Prophet (s). This is indeed imporatant material 
that wwill prove useful. 

7 ". . . this is but a trial from You." 
8 This is a Shiite sect 


God. . . orders you to sacrifice a cow. . . " 



Abu 'Hayyan in his sahlh collection, Ahrmad, and 'l-'l-Tirmidhi narrate a tradition, 
one that the latter has deermed hasan from v Adi b. 'Hatim that the Messenger of God (s) 
said: "Indeed, 'those who have earned (God's) wrath' are the Jews, and 'those who 
have gone astray' are the Christians" 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from Abu Dharr: I asked the Prophet (s) who the words "/- 
maghdub ^alaihim' and '1-dallln' referred to. He replied that they referred to the Jews and 
the Christians respectively. 


Ibn Mardawaih reports from Abu SaTd 'l-Khudari by way of Abu 'l-Nadrat,a 
tradition, which 'l-Hakim also reports and authenticates, in his work, 1-Mustadrak, that 
the Prophet (s) said, with regard to the verse: "wa lahum fiha azwaj mujahharat" 10 (2:25) 
that they shall be free of menstruation, feces, phlegm, and spittle. Ibn Kathir in his 
exegesis says that the chain of this tradition includes a certain 'l-Bazfi about whom Ibn 
Hibban says: "It is not permissible to cite him in evidence." While Ibn Kathir regards 'I- 
HakirrTs authentication of the tradition as problematic, I found that he himself, in his work 
on history, deerms the tradition as authentic. 

Ibn Jarir, narrates a tradition from 7\mr b. Qays 'l-MalaT with a sound chain, in 
which he quotes a man form the Banu 'Umayya, one for whom he has considerable 
praise, as saying: "The Prophet (s) was asked: 'O, Messenger, what is ^adal?' He 
replied: "Adl is the payment of ransom." This is a sound mursal tradition supported by a 
mauquf tradition from Ibn 7\bbas. n 

Bukhari and Muslim narrate a tradition of Ibn 'Abbas from the Prophet (s) who 
said: "The Children of Israel were told: "wa 'udkhulu 'l-bab sujjadan wa qulu 

10 ". . .and therein they shall have spouses pure. . ." 

11 A mursal tradition is one missing the first transmitter from the chain, while a 
mauqfL/ftradition is one that goes as far back as a Companion only. 


hi$atun" 12 (2:58) They however, entered on their posteriors saying instead: 'One kernel 
of barley!" This in fact, is what is referred to in the verse: "qaulan ghair alladhi qila 
lahum" 13 (2:59) 

'l-'l-Tirmidhi and others have narrated a tradition with a sound chain from Abu 
Sa^id 'l-Khudari that the Prophet (s) said: "'Wail' is a valley in hell so deep, that the 
disbeliever, when put therein, will sink for forty years before reaching its bottom." 

12 '. . .And enter the gate prostrating yourself and say: 'Remove from us our sins.' 
13 ". . .they substituted another saying for that given to them.' 


Ahrmad, using the same chain, narrates a tradition from Abu SaTd in which the 
Prophet (s) said: "The term qunut, where it appears in the Qur'an, reters to obedience." 
'I-Khapb, in a tradition with a questionable chain, narrates from Malik from NafP from Ibn 
'Urmar from the Prophet (s), that the latter said that the verse: "yatlunahu haqqa 
tilawatihi" 14 (2:121) means: 'they comply with it in full'. 

Ibn Mardawaih narrates a tradition wiht a weak chain from 'Ali b. Abu Talib that 
the Prophet (s) said in reference to the verse: "la yanal 'ahdi 'l-Zalimin" 15 (2:124): 
"obedience extends only to matters that are good." This is substantiated by mauquf 
tradition quoted by Ibn Abu 'Hatirm from Ibn 'Abbas with the words: "The oppressor has 
no right over you to coerce the disobedience of God. " 

Ahmad narrates a tradition that both 'l-'l-Tirmidhi and 'l-Hakim narrate and 
authenticate, from Abu Sald 'l-Khudari, in which the Prophet said that the verse: "wa 
kadhalika ja^alnakum ummatan wasajan " 16 means a just community. 

Bukhari, Muslim and others narrate a tradition from Abu Sa^id 'l-Khudari from the 
Prophet (s) who said: "Noah will be summoned on the day of Resurrection and asked: 
'Did you deliver the message?' He will say: 'Yes.' His people will then be summoned and 
asked: 'Did he deliver the message to you?' They will say: 'He did not bring us any 
warning or anything!' Noah will then be asked: 'Who will testify for you?' He will say: 
'Muhammad and his community.' The Prophet then said: "This is what is meant by the 
verse: "wa kadhalika ja^alnakum ummatan wasajan." He said: "the word 1-wasat 
(middle most) , means 1-^adl (just) You will be summoned and you will testify that he did 
deliver, and I will testify on your behalf." As for the words of the tradition, 1-wasat 1-^adl, 
they are, as Ibn Hajr in his commentary of 'l-Bukhari points out, martu ghair mudraj. 


"They recite it as it ought to be recited." 

15 ,. 

My covenant does not embrace the unjust" 


And thus have We made you a middle-most community. . . " 


Abu 'l-Shaikh narrates a tradition as does 'l-Dailaml in the work, Musnad 1- 
Firdaus by way of Juwaibir, from 'l-Dahhak, from Ibn 7\bbas, that the Prophet (s) said 
that the verse: "Fa 'udhkurunl adhkurukum" 17 (2:152), means: 'Remember me, O 
servants, by being obedient to me, and I shall remember you by forgiving you." 

'l-f abaranl reports from Abu 'Urmarma that the strap of the Prophet's sandal broke 
and he recited the istirja^ 18 . The Companions then asked: "Is this a calamity, O 
Messenger of God?" He replied: "Whenever something unpleasant to a Muslim afflicts 
him, it is a calamity." This tradition has several sources of substantiation. 

Ibn Majah and Ibn Abu 'Hatirm narrate a tradition from 'l-Barra b. 'Azib who said: 
"We were with the Prophet (s) in a funeral procession when he said: 'A disbeliever is 
struck a blow between his eyes which is heard by all beasts save the human being and 
the Jinn; every animal that hears his shout then curses him. This is what is meant by the 
verse: 'Wa yaPanuhum '1-la'inun" 19 (2:159) Bythis is meant the beasts of the earth. 

'l-f abaranl reports from Abu ^Umama that the Prophet (s) said that the verse: "'I- 
hajj ashhur malumat" 20 (2:197)refers to Shawwal, Dhu 'l-Qa'da and Dhu 'l-Hijja. 

'l-f abaranl also narrates the following tradition-with an unobjectionable chain- 
from Ibn 'Abbas, in reference to the verse: "fa la rafatha wa la fusuqa wa la jidala fi 'I- 
hajj" 21 (2:197) in which the Prophet (s) explained that ratath alludes to thinking about 
sexual contact with the opposite sex, fusiiq to wicked conduct, and jidal to quarrels with 
one's companion. 

Abu Dawud reports that 'A{a when asked about ineffectual oaths said: "'A'isha 



"So remember me and I shall remember you" 

This refers to the recitation, during times of calamity, of the verse: "Unto God 
do we indeed, belong and unto Him is or return"(2:156) 

19 ". . . and all those able to curse will also do so. . ." 

20 "The hajj is to be performed in the months, well known'" 

21 "Abstain from lewd speech, from wicked conduct and from quarreling (during 
the hajj)." 


said that the Prophet (s) said: This is when a man, in his own abode, utters, By God!. . 
.and so on" Bukhari reported this as a tradition (mauquf) traced only as far back as 

Ahrmad and others report form Abu Razin 'l-Asadi that a man once said: "O, 
Messenger of God! Where in the statement of God, "'l-talaq marratan" 22 (2:229) is the 
third pronouncemant?" The Prophet replied: "(The statement that follows) "release her 
in a goodly manner" is the third." 

Ibn Mardawaih reports that Anas said that a man came to the Prophet (s) and 
said:"0 Messenger of God! God mentions ta\aq twice, where then is the third?" The 
Prophet (s) replied: "(It is in the conclusion of the verse which says that the marriage) 
must either continue with equity or (the wife should be) released in a goodly manner." 

'l-fabarani reports a tradition-with an unobjectionable chain-through Ibn Lahfa 
from 7\mr b. Shu^aib from his father, from his grandfather that the Prophet (s) said: 
"The verse: 'alladhi biyadihi ^uqdat 'l-nikah" 23 (2:237) refers to the husband". 

'I-'I-Tirmidhi reports, as does Ibn Hibban in his Sahlh from Ibn Mas^ud that the 
Prophet (s) said: "The 'salat 1-wusta' is the ^asr prayer." 24 Also, Ahrmad and 'l-Tirmidhi 
narrate a tradition-which the latter also authenticated-from Samura, in which the 
Prophet (s) said: "The 'salat 1-wusta' is the ^asr prayer." And Ibn Jarir narrates from 
Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "The 'salat 1-wusta' is the ^asr prayer." Similarly, 
he reports from Abu Malik 'l-AsrTari that the Prophet (s) said: "The 'salat 1-wusta' is the 
^asr prayer." This tradition has several other chains of authority as well as attestations. 

'l-f abarani also reports from 'Ali that the Prophet (s) said: "The word 1-saklna 
refers to a hard blowing wind." (48:4) 

22 Talaq is to be pronounced twice." 

23 The one in whose hand is the marriage tie. 

24 n 

This is in reference to the following verse:"Be ever mindful of prayer, and 
particularly the middle prayer."(2:238) 


Ibn Mardawaih reports a martu tradition on the authority of Juwaibir from 'I- 
Dahhak in which Ibn 'Abbas says that the verse: "yu'ti 'l-hikmat man yasha'" 25 (2:269) 
refers to the wisdom of the Qur'an , or to its interpretation. After all, both the good and 
the wicked recite it. 


Ahrmad and others report from Abu 'Umama that the Prophet (s) said that the 
following verses referred to the Kharijite sect: "fa 'amma alladhina fi qulubihim zaigh fa 
yattabPuna rma tashabaha minhu" 26 (3:7) and " yauma tabyaddu wujuh wa taswaddu 
wujuh" 27 (3:106) 

'l-f abarani and others report from Abu 'l-Darda that the Prophet (s) when asked 
about the phrase: "l-rasikhun fi 'l-'ilm" 28 (3:7) replied: "Those whose oaths are fulfilled, 
whose tongues are truthful, whose hearts are sound, and whose bellies and sexual 
organs remain pure are of those deeply rooted in knowledge." 

'I-Hakim reports, on the authority of Anas, a tradition, which he also 
authenticates, that when asked about the words of the Almighty: "wa 'l-qanapr 'I- 
muqanjarat" 29 (3:14) said: "A qin/ar is equal to a thousand auqiyat. 

'L-f abarani reports-on the basis of a weak tradition-on the authority of Ibn 
7\bbas that the Prophet (s) said, that in the verse: "wa lahu aslama man fi 'l-samawat wa 
'l-ard jau^an wa karhan" 30 (3:83) "those in the Heavens" refers to the angels, and "those 

25 "He grants wisdom to whosoever he chooses" 

26 "As for those whose hearts are filled with misguidance, they follow the 
allegories of the (Qur'an )" 

27 "(On that day) some faces will be white with happiness and others black with 
grief. . ." 

28 "those deeply rooted in knowledge". 

29 "Heaps of. . ." 

30 "And unto Him submit all who are in the Heavens and on earth, willingly and 


on earth" reters to those born Muslim. As for "those who submit unwillingly" this reters 
to the slaves of various communities who are unwillingly driven towards heaven in 
chains and shackles. 

'I-Hakim reports a tradition from Anas which he also authenticates, that the 
Prophet (s) when asked what the word 1-sabil meant in the verse: "man istaja^a ilaihi 
sabilan" 31 (3:197) replied: "A mode of travel and travel provisions." 'I-'I-Tirmidhi narrates 
a similar tradition, which he authenticates, from Ibn 'Urmar. 

'Abd b. Hurmaid, in his exegesis, narrates tradition from NufaP that the Prophet 
(s) said with regard to the verse: "wa li Allah 'ala 'l-nas hijj ' man istaja^a ilaihi 
sabilan wa man kafara fa inna Allah ghaniyyun 'an 'l-'alamin 32 (3:97) A man from the 
Hudhail tribe stood up and asked: "O Messenger of God! Is it that one who neglects it is 
guilty of disbelief? He replied: "Yes, if he does so without fear of its consequences or 
hope of its rewards." NufaP is a tab'fl(a successor to the Companions) and the chain is 
thus mursal; but the tradition is corroborated, albeit by a mauquf report from Ibn 'Abbas. 

'I-Hakim narrates and authenticates a tradition from Ibn Mas^ud that with regard 
to the verse: ittaqu Allah haqq tuqatihi" (3:102)a commentary from the Prophet (s) on 
the verse: 33 (3:102) the Prophet (s) said: "That He be heeded and not disobeyed, and 
that He be remembered, and not forgotten." 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from Abu JaTar 'l-Baqir, that on reciting the verse: "wa I- 
takun minkum ummatyad^un ila 'l-khair" 34 (3:104) the Prophet (s) said: "1-Khair refers to 
obedience to the Qur'an and to my sunna." This tradition is mudal 35 

31 ". . . all those who are able to undertake the journey" 

32,, "pj|g r j ma g e to the sacred House is a duty owed to God by people who are 
able to undertake it; as for those who deny this, God is not in need of anything in the 

33 "Be conscious of God as befits Him " 

34 "Let there be among you a group who invites to the good." 

35 When two successive narrators or more are missing the tradition is regarded as 


'I-Dailaml in his work, Musnad 1-Firdaus quotes a tradition with a weak chain 
from Ibn 'Urmar with regard to the verse: "yaum tabyaddu wujuh wa taswaddu 
wujuh" 36 (3:106) in which the Prophet (s) had said: "The faces of the followers of the 
sunna will be bright while those of the innovators will be dark." 

'l-f abaranl and Ibn 'l-Mardawaih report a tradition with a weak chain from Ibn 
7\bbas in which the Prophet (s) said: "musawwimln" (3: 125) 37 meant "easily 
identifiable" The angels during the battle of Badr, were identified by their black turbans, 
and during the battle of Uhud, by their red turbans. 

Bukharl narrates from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "lf one fails to pay 
zakat on the wealth that God hath provided, that wealth will appear in the form of a 
poisonous serpent with two dots above its eyes. This snake will coil around him, hold on 
to his jawbones and say: 'I am your wealth, your treasure!' He then recited the verse: 38 


Ibn Abu 'Hatirm narrates, as does Ibn Hibban in his sahih from 'A'isha that the 
term taulu\v\ the verse, "dhalika adna an la ta^ulu" 39 (3:3)was explained by the Prophet 
(s) to mean 'tajuru, that is, to stray. Ibn Abu 'Hatim reports from 'Ubayy that the above 
tradition is wrongly categorized; it is, correctly speaking, a mauq wf tradition from \Visha. 

'l-f abaranl reports a tradition, having a weak chain, from 'Umar, in which the 
verse: "Kullama nadijat juluduhum baddalnahum juludan ghairaha" 40 (4:56) is recited to 
Ibn 'Urmar. Mu^adh then said: "I have its interpretation: the skin is changed a hundred 

36 "On the day when some faces will be bright and others dark." 

37 ". . .clearly marked" 

38 "Let not those who act niggardly with what God hath provided of His bounties 
think that. . . 


"This will make it less likely that you will stray." 


Every time their skins are burnt off We replace them with other skins" 


times every hour." 'Urmar then said: "Thus have I heard from the Prophet (s)." 

'l-f abaranl narrates a tradition with a weak chain from Abu Huraira in which the 
Prophet (s) explains that the term '\azauhu in the verse: " wa man yaqtul mu'minan 
muta^ammidan fa jaza'uhu jahannam" 41 (4:93) implies: if God were to recompense him. 

'l-f abaranl narrates a tradition with a weak chain from Ibn Mas^ud in which the 
Prophet (s) interpreted the following verse: "fa yuwafflhim 'ujurahum wa yazlduhum min 
fadlihl" 42 (4:173) to mean: "He will allow those destined for the Fire to receive 
intercession from those with whom their dealings were equitable in this world." 

Abu Dawud narrates from his mursal collection a tradition from Abu Salama b. 
'Abd 'l-Rahman that a man came to the Prophet (s) and asked the meaning of the word 
1-kalala He said: "Have you not heard of the verse that was revealed in the summer: 
"yastaftunaka qul Allah yuftlkum fi 1-kalalat" 43 (4:176) Whoever dies leaving no parents or 
sons, his heirs are kalala. This is a mursal tradition. 

Abu 'l-Shaikh reports in the work, Kitab 1-Fara~1dh, from 'l-Barra that he asked the 
Prophet (s) about the word 1-kalala.He said: "Those heirs excluding the parent and the 

Ibn Abu Hatirm reports from Abu Sa^ld 'l-Khudarl that the Prophet (s) said: "lf one 
of the Children of Israel possessed a servant, a beast of burden, and a woman, he 
would be considered a king." This is corroborated by Ibn Jarlr's mursal tradition on the 
authority of Zaid b. Aslam. 

'I-Hakim narrates and authenticates atradition, from 'Ayadh 'l-AsrTarl who said: 
"When the verse: fa saufa ya'tl bi qaum yuhibbuhum wa yuhibbunahu" 44 (5:54) the 
Prophet (s), pointing to Abu Musa, said: "This refers to his community." 

41 "And the requital for one who slays a Muslim intentionally is Hell." 
42 "He will give them their rewards and much more from His bounties" 
43, They askyou (about inheritance). Say:God informs you about 1-kalala' 
44 "A people, whom God loves, and they love Him." 


'l-f abarani reports from Wisha, that the Prophet (s) said that the verse: "Au 
kiswatuhum" 45 (4:89) reters to each indigent receiving an outer garment. 

45 ". . .or by clothing them. . . " 


'I-'I-Tirmidhl reports and authenticates a tradition by Abu 'Umayya '1-Sha'banl 
who said: "I approached Abu Thalaba 'l-Khashanl and said to hirm:: "What do you 
make of this verse?" He asked: "Which verse?" I said: "The Almighty's statement: "Ya 
ayyuha alladhuna armanu 'alaikum antusakum; la yadurrukum man dalla idha 
ihtadaitum" 46 (5:89) He said: "By God, I did indeed ask one most knowledgeable about 
this: the Messenger of God (s), and he said: "Continue to enjoin the good, and to torbid 
evil until such time that you see niggardliness and lewdness become rampant, and the 
world being preterred (over the hereatter), and people becoming highly opinionated; this 
is when you should focus on your self and ignore people. 

Ahmad, 'l-f abaranl and others report from Abu 'Amir 'l-Ashfarl who said that he 
asked the Prophet (s) about the foregoing verse. He replied: "The misguidedness of the 
disbelievers will not harm you, if you remain guided." 
1-An ^am 

Ibn Mardawaih and Abu 'l-Shaikh report a tradition by way of Nahshal from 'I- 
Dahhak, from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (s) said: "Every human being has an angel 
who removes his soul when he sleeps; if ordered by God to do so, he will withhold the 
soul, and if not, then he will return it to him." This is the meaning of the verse: 
"yatawaffakum bi 'l-lail" 47 (6:60). But Nashhal is a liar. 

Ahrmad, Bukharl, Muslim, and others narrate that Ibn Mas^ud said: "The following 
verse, when revealed, was troublesome to the people: "alladhlna amanu wa lam yalbisu 
imanahum bi Zulm" (6:82) 48 They therefore said: 'O Messenger of God, which one of us 
is not oppressive to himself!' He replied: 'lt is not as you understand it; have you not 
paid attention to the statement of the pious servant: 'Ascribing divinity is indeed a 
grievous injustice!' (31:13) This refers to ascribing partners with God. 

46l O You who believe! You are accountable only for yourselves. Those who go 
astray can do you no harm, if you are remain guided." 



'He it is who causes you to be (like) dead at night." 

Those who have attained faith, and obscure not their faith with oppression. . . ' 


Ibn Abu Hatim and others, narrate a tradition with a weak chain from Abu SaTd 
'l-Khudarl that the Prophet (s) said with regard to the verse: "la tudrikuhu 'l-absar" 49 
(61:03) that if " all they/nns, the humans, the satans, and the angels ever created were 
to form a single line they will still not encircle God." 

'I-Faryabl and others report a tradition on the authority of 7\mr b. Murra, from 
Abu JaTar that on being asked how God will open bosoms, as in the following verse: 
"fa man yuridi Allah an yahdiyahu yashrah sadrahu li 'l-islam" 50 (61:25), the Prophet (s) 
replied: "By way of a light that is shone into his bosom causing it to becorme open and 
enlarged." They then asked: "Does this event have some recognizable sign?" He said: 
"(Its signs are:) Seeking refuge in the abode of eternity and away from the abode of 
delusion, and preparing for death before its arrival" This is a mursal tradition supported 
by several sound traditions that raise its soundness to the level of sahih and hasan. 

Ibn Mardawaih reports a tradition, as does 'l-Nahhas in his work on abrogations, 
on the authority of Abu SaTd 'l-Khudari in which the Prophet (s) said that the verse: 
"wa'tu haqqahu yaum hasadihi" 51 (6:141) refers to that which falls of the ears of the corn. 

Ibn Mardawaih quotes a mursal tradition, by way of a weak chain, from SaTd b. 
'I-Musayyib in which the Prophet (s) said that the term wus^aha in the verse: "wa aufu 'I- 
kail wa 'l-mlzan bi 'l-qist; la nukallitu nafsan illa wus^aha" 52 (61:52) refers to: "One who 
inadvertently takes more when measuring and weighing while God knows full well that 
his intentions were honest, will not be taken to task." 

49 "No human vision can encompass him." 

50 "And whosoever God wants to guide, his bosom He opens, allowing Islarm to 

51 "Give unto the poor their due on harvest day" 

52 "And give full measure and weight, with equity; We do not burden a human 
being with more than he can bear" 


Ahmad and 'l-'l-Tirmidhi report from Abu Sa^id that the Prophet (s) said, that the 
verse: "yauma ya'ti ba^d ayat rabbika la yanta^u natsan imanuha" 53 (61:58) reters to when 
the sun will be rising from its West." This tradition, on the authority of Abu Huraira, has 
several chains in the sahih compendiums as well as in other works on hadith. 

'l-f abarani and others quote a tradition with a sound chain from 'Urmar b. 'I- 
Kha^ab in which the Prophet (s) explains to 'A'isha that the verse: "inna alladhina 
farraqu dinahum wa kanu shiya^an" 54 (61:59) refers to the innovators and to those who 
succumb to their desires. 'l-f abarani also quotes a tradition with a sound chain from Abu 
Huraira in which the Prophet (s) says that the verse: "inna alladhina farraqu dinahum wa 
kanu shiya^an" 55 (61:59) refers to the innovators of this community and those who 
succumb to their desires. 
1-A rsf 

Ibn Mardawaih and others quote a tradition with a weak chain from Anas in which 
the Prophet (s) says that the verse: "khudhu zinatakum 'inda kull musjid" 56 (7:31) 
means, "Pray in your sandals." This tradition is corroborated by one from Abu Huraira 
as found in the collection of Abu 'l-Shaikh. 

53 "On the day when some of the signs of your Lord appear, one's faith will be of 
no use. . ." 

54 "lndeed those who have broken the unity of their faith by becoming sects. . ." 

55 "lndeed those who have broken the unity of their faith by becoming sects. . ." 

56 "Take to your adornment during times of worship. . . " 


Ahmad, Abu Dawud, 'l-Hakim and others report on the authority of 'l-Barra N b. 
'Azib that the Prophet (s) mentioned the events that transpire when a disbelievers soul 
is removed: "It is taken up, and as it passes by the assembly of angels they say: 'What 
a wretched soul!' Then it reaches the first heaven and seeks permission to enter, but 
permission is denied." Then he went on to recite the following verse: "la tufattahu lahum 
abwab 'l-sama'" 57 (7:40) The Prophet (s) then went on: "God would say: 'Record his 
document in the prison records of the lowest pits of hell, whence his soul shall be 
hurled." The Prophet (s) then recited the following verse: "wa man yushrik bi Allah fa 
ka'annama kharra min 'l-sama' fa takhjafuhu 'l-jair au tahwi bihi 'l-rih fi makan sahiq" 
58 (7:31) 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah that the Prophet (s) when asked 
about the fate of one whose good and evil deeds are equal in amount, said: "These are 
the denizens of 'l-AVaf." This tradition does have endorsement. 

'l-f abarani , 'l-Baihaqi, Sa^id b. Mansiir and others report from 7\bd 'l-Rahman 'I- 
Muzani that the Prophet (s) , when asked about the denizens of 'l-A'raf, said that they 
were people who were martyred in the path of God while being disobedient to their 
parents, and this impedes their entry into heaven while the former saves them from hell. 
This tradition is corroborated by one quoted by 'l-Baihaqi from Abu Huraira as well as 
one by 'l-f abarani from Abu Sald. 'I-Baihaqi, using a weak chain, also cites another 
marfu tradition, from Anas in which the believers from among they/nn are mentioned 

Ibn Jarir reports from 'A'isha that the Prophet (s) interpreted the word 1-fufan as 
death. (71:33) Ahrmad, 'l-'l-Tirmidhi, and 'l-Hakim quote a tradition which the latter two 
have deemed authentic, from Anas, with regard to the following verse: "fa larmrma tajalla 

57 "The gates of heaven shall not be opened for them. . ." 

58 "Whosoever ascribes partners to God, (will be made to feel) as if he has been 
sent hurtling from the skies , only to be carried off by some bird or blown away by the 


rabbuhu li 'l-jabal ja^alahu dakka" 59 (71:43) He said: "Thus (by bringing his thumb and 
index tinger together) was the mountain pulverized, and Moses fell in a swoon. And Abu 
'l-Shaikh quotes the tollowing words: "He pointed to it with his little tinger, and through 
its light He caused it to crumble." 

Abu 'l-Shaikh reports, on the authority of JaTar b. Muhammad from his father, 
from his grandfather that the Prophet (s) said: "The tablets given to Moses were from 
the Lotus tree in Heaven; each tablet was 12 arms-length long." 

59 "And as soon as his Lord revealed Himself to the mountain He caused it to 
crumble into dust" 


Ahmad, '1-Nasa'i and 'l-Hakim report a tradition which the latter authenticates on 
the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (s) said: "On the day of 'Arafa, at Nu^rman, 
God took a pledge from all the progeny of Adam by bringing them forth from his loins 
and assembling them in front of Him. He then addressed them and asked them: "a lastu 
bi rabbikum; qalu bala" 60 (71;72) And Ibn Jarlr cites a tradition with a weak chain from 
Ibn N Umar that in regard to the foregoing verse the Prophet (s) said: "God assembled 
the progeny of Adam much as a comb does with hair of the head. He then said to them: 
'Am I notyour Lord! They replied: 'Indeed you are that.' The angels then said: 'We bear 

Ahrmad, 'l-'l-Tirmidhi , and 'l-Hakim report a tradition-which the former deemed 
hasan and the latter, saMz-from Samura that the Prophet (s) said: "Al Eve's children 
died shortly after birth, so one day after she had given birth Iblis passed by and said: 
'Narme him 'Abd 'l-Harith, and he will indeed live.' That was Satan's inspiration and his 

Ibn Abu Hatim and Abu 'l-Shaikh report '1-Sha'bi as saying: "When the verse, 
"Khudh 'l-^afwa. . ." 61 (71:99) the Prophet (s) asked Gabriel what it meant. He 
professed ignorance and took leave to ask God, the All-Knowing. On his return he said: 
"God orders you to forgive those who have acted unjustly towards you, to give even to 
those who withheld from you, and to maintain relations even with those who cut 
themselves off from you." This is a mursal tradition. 

Abu 'I- Shaikh reports from Ibn 'Abbas a tradition in which the Prophet (s) was 
asked with regard to the verse: "Wa 'udhkuru idh antum qalil mustad'afun fi 'l-ard 
takhafun an yatakha$afakum 1-nas" 62 (8:26) and the 'people' mentioned therein. He 
replied: "They are the people of Persia." 

60 "Am I notyour Lord! They said:"lndeed You are. . ." 

61, Accept from (man's nature) whatever is forthcoming. . . " 

62 "And recall the time when you were few in number, weak on earth, fearful that 
people would sweep you away" 


'I-'I-Tirmidhi reports a tradition which he deemed weak, from Abu Musa in which 
the Prophet (s) said: "God has granted my community two sateguards (as found in the 
tollowing verse): "wa rma kana Allah li yu^adhdhibahum wa anta fihim wa rma kana Allah 
mu^adhdhibahum wa hum yastaghfirun" 63 (8:133) Thus when I pass away I shall instruct 
them to seek penance till the day of resurrection." 

Muslim and others report from 'Uqba b. Wmir who said: "I heard the Prophet (s) 
recite the following verse whilst on the pulpit: "wa 'a^iddu lahum ma istaja^tum min 
quwwatin" 64 (8:60) He then said: 'This 'strength' is the ability to hurl spears' It appears 
therefore, that the most powerful and the most damaging weapon to be used against 
the enermy is the spear. But God knows best." 

Abu 'l-Shaikh reports on the authority of Abu 'l-Mahdi, from his father from a 
person who informed him that the Prophet's (s) said with regard to the verse: "wa 
akharin min dunihim la ta1amunahum" 65 (8:60) that they are Ihejinn." A similar tradition, 
deemed martu^ is reported by 'l-f abarani from Yazid b. 'Abd Allah b. 7\rib, from his 

'l-'l-Tirmidhi quotes 'Ali as asking the Prophet (s) about the verse: "yaum 'l-hajj 'I- 
akbar" 66 (9:3) He replied that it was the day of the sacrifice. This is corroborated by the 
tradition of Ibn 'Umar as found in the work of Ibn Jarir. Ibn Abu Hatim reports from 
Miswar b. Makhrama that the Prophet (s) said: "This day of 'Arafa is 'the day of the 
greater pilgrimage'. 

Ahmad, 'l-'l-Tirmidhi , Ibn Hibban, and 'l-Hakim quote Abu Sa^id as saying that 
the Prophet (s) said: "When you see someone frequenting the mosgue then adjudge 

63, God will certainly not punish them whilst you are in their midst, nor will He do 
so for as long as they seek forgiveness.' 

64, Prepare against them whatever force. . . ' 

65 "And others besides them, whom you know not. . ." 

66 "The day of the great pilgrimage" 


him as having faith, for God does say: "innama ya^muru masajid Allah man amana bi 
Allah wa 'l-yaum 'l-akhir" 67 (9:18) 

67, Only he frequents God's house who believes in GOd and the Last Day' 


Ibn 'l-Mubarak quotes a tradition in the section on asceticism, as does 'l-Baihaqi 
in the section on the resurrection, on the authority of 'Imran b. 'I-Hussain and Abu 
Huraira, in which the Prophet (s) was asked about the verse: "wa masakina jayyibatan fi 
jannati 'adn" 68 (9:72) He said: "This refers to a palace of pearls, having seventy 
dwellings made of emeralds. Each dwelling has a bed, and each bed has seventy 
variegated carpets each, upon each carpet sits one a wide eyed spouse. Each chamber 
contains seventy tables, each table has seventy varieties of dishes. Every chamber also 
contains servants, one male and one female; and each day the believer will be given 
the nourishment that would allow him to partake of all these bounties." 

Mulsim and others quote a tradition from Abu SaTd who said: "Two men argued 
about the mosque 'built on piety': one said that it referred to the mosque of the Prophet 
(s) whilst the other said that it referred to the mosque at Quba'. On asking the Prophet 
(s) they were told: 'lt refers to my mosque." Ahrmad cites a similar report from Sahl b. 
Sa^d and 'Ubayy b. Ka^b. 

Ahrmad, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Khuzaima report from 'Uwayrm b. Sa^ida 'l-Ansari that 
the Prophet (s) approached him in the mosque of Quba' and said: "God has spoken 
highly of your cleanliness in the narrative about the Quba' mosque; what exactly is this 
cleanliness? I can't think of anything except for the fact that we use water to cleanse 
ourselves (after using the toilet).' He then said: 'This is indeed it! Continue with this 

Ibn Jarir reports from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "The word 1-saihun 
refers to those who fast." (9:112) 

Muslim reports from Suhaib that the Prophet (s) said that in the verse: "li 
alladhina ahsanu 'l-husna wa ziyadah" 69 (10:26) the word 1-husna refers to heaven and 
ziyadah refers to the vision of God. And in the same chapter similar reports exist on the 
authority of Abu Musa 'l-AsrYari, Ka^b b. 'l-'Ujra, Anas, and Abu Huraira. 

68 ". . .and wonderful dwellings in gardens of eternal bliss." 

69 "For those who do good there is much good (1-husna) and more (ziyada)." 


Ibn Mardawaih reports from Ibn 'Umar from the Prophet (s) that the verse: "li 
alladhina ahsanu" means to bear witness that there is no god but God. 1-Husna means 
heaven and ziyada means looking at God." 

Abu 'l-Shaikh and others report from Anas that the Prophet (s) interpreted the 
verse: "bi fadl Allah" 70 (10:58) to refer to the Qur'an and "wa bi rahmatihi" (10:58) 71 to 
refer to the fact that He made you part of it. 

Ibn Mardawaih narrates from Abu Sald 'l-Khudarl that a man came to the 
Prophet (s) and said: "My chest hurts!" The Prophet (s) replied: "Then recite the Qur'an , 
for God Almighty says: "wa shifa' li ma fi 'l-sudur" 72 (10:57) This tradition is corroborated 
by one 'l-Baihaqi transmitted in his chapter on the parts of faith, on the authority of 
Wathila b. 'I-Asqa\ 

Abu Dawud and others report from 'Urmar b. 'I-Kha^ab that the Prophet (s) said: 
"Of the servants of God are people who are the envy of the prophets and the martyrs!" 
He was asked: "Who are they, O! Messenger of God?, and he said: "Those who love 
each other, not because of wealth or lineage, but purely for the sake of God. They are 
fearless when others are filled with fear, and show no grief when others are grief 
stricken. Then the Prophet (s) recited the verse: "ala inna auliya' Allah la khaufun 
'alaihim wa la hum yahzanun" 73 (10:68) Ibn Mardawaih reports from Abu Huraira that the 
Prophet (s) on being asked about the verse: "ala inna auliya' Allah la khaufun 'alaihim wa 
la hum yahzanun" said: "They are the ones who loved each other purely for the sake of 
God, Almighty." A similar tradition is reported by Ibn Mardawaih on the authority of Jabir 
b. 7\bd Allah. 

70 "Say! With this bounty of God. . . " 

71 "And His mercy. . . " 

72, And it is a rermedy for what is in the chest." 

73 "Verily! those close to God need have no fear, nor should they grieve." 


Ahrmad, SaTd b. Mansur, 'l-'l-Tirmidhl , and others report that, on being asked 
about the verse: "lahum 'l-bushra fi 'l-hayat 1-dunya" 74 (10:64) Abu 'l-Darda said: "Since 
asking the Prophet (s) no one till now has asked me about this verse. He told me: 
"Since its revelation no one but you has asked me about it! He said:" This reters to the 
good dream that a believer sees, or that is shown to him; whereas this is his glad tiding 
for this world, for the world herearter it will be Heaven." This tradition is reported 
through various channels. 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from 'A'isha the Prophet (s) said that the verse: "illa qaum 
Yunus lamma amanu" 75 (10:98) refers to them supplicating God. 

Ibn Mardawaih, using a weak chain, reports from Ibn 'Urmar that when the 
Prophet (s) recited the verse: "li yabluwakum ayyukum ahsanu 'amal" 76 1 asked him 
what it meant. He replied: "(It is a test to determine) who among you has the finest 
intellect. The best among you in intellect is certain to be most fearful of God's 
ordinances; and most diligent in being obedient to God. 

'l-f abaranl quotes a tradition with a weak chain from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet 
(s) said:"l do believe that nothing nicer than recent good deeds exist for assuaging past 
evil deeds and for doing so swiftly. "inna 'l-hasanat yudhhibna 1-sayyi'at" 77 (11:14) 

Ahmed reports from Abu Dharr that he had asked the Prophet (s) for advice and 
was told: "When you have indulged in some evil follow it up immediately with some 
good in order to efface it." I said: "O! Messenger of God! Is the invocation 'There is no 
god but God' included in this?" He replied: "It is of the most noble good deeds." 

'l-f abaranl and AS narrate from Jarlr b. 7\bd Allah a report from the Prophet 
(s)pertaining to the following verse: "wa rma kana rabbuka li yuhlika 'l-qura bi iulm wa 

74 "For them there are tidings of happiness in the life of this world." 
75 ". . .Except the people of Jonah. When they came to believe. . ." 
76 "ln order to test you (and make clear) which of you is best in conduct." 
77 "Verily good deeds drive away evil deeds" 


ahluha muslihun" 78 (ll:117) The Prophet (s) said: "This is when its people act tairly 

towards each other." 


Sa^id b. Mansur, Abu Yala, 'l-Hakim and 'l-Baihaqi--in his work, 1-Dalail-report. a 
tradition (one that 'l-Hakim authenticated) from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah in which a Jew came 
to the Prophet (s) and said: "O! Muhammad! Intorrm me of the stars that Joseph saw 
pros'l-'l-Tirmidhiating to him; what were their names 

?" The Prophet (s) did not reply until Gabriel arrived and intormed him. He then 
summoned the Jew asnd said: "Will you believe if I informed you?" The man said: "Yes." 
The Prophet (s) then said:"They are: Kharthan, Tariq, Dhiyal, Dhu '1-Kay'an, Dhu 'l-Far\ 
Waththab, 'Urmudan, Qabis, 'l-Daruh, 'l-Musabbih, 'l-Faylaq, 'l-Diya' and 'l-Nur. The Jew 
then said: "By God! These are indeed their names; as for the sun and the moon(the 
symbols for) his parents, he saw them on the horizon pros'l-'l-Tirmidhiating to him." 
When the man narrated the story to his father, he said: "I think this is a rather confused 
issue which God will clarify." 

78 "Never would your Lord destroy a community for (wrong beliefs alone) so long 
as its people act with propriety (towards each other)" 


Ibn Mardawaih reports from Anas that the Prophet (s) said: "When Joseph said: 
"dhalika li yalarm anni lam 'akhunhu bi 'l-ghaib" 79 (12:52) Gabriel said to him: "Joseph! 
Recall your temptation." At this Joseph said: 80 (13:52) 

'l-'l-Tirmidhi and 'l-Hakim report a tradition that the torrmer deerms hasan and the 
latter sahih from Abu Huraira from the Prophet (s) with regard to the following verse: "wa 
nufaddilu ba^daha 'ala ba^d fi 'l-'ukl" 81 (13:4) He said that it referes to low qulatiy dates, 
to the persian variety, to those that taste sweet and those that are sour. 

Ahmad, '1-Nasa'i, nad 'l-'l-Tirmidhi narrate a tradition that the latter deemed sahih 
from Ibn 'Abbas who said: "Some Jews came to the Prophet (s) and asked about the 
word rad. He said: "An angel appointed by God who is en'l-'l-Tirmidhiusted with the 
clouds; in his hand is a whip of fire which he uses to threaten the clouds and drive them 
in the direction that God decrees." They then asked about the noise (thunder) that they 
hear, and were told: 'This is its crack.' 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from 7\mr b. Bijad 'l-'AsfTari thatthe Prophet (s) said: '"I- 
Ra^d is an angel who upbraids the clouds while lightning is the glance of an angel called 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah that the Prophet (s) said:"An angel en'l- 
'l-Tirmidhiusted with the clouds brings together clouds that are scattered as well as 
those that fly high. In his hand is a whip: when he raises it, it flashes, when he upbraids 
with it, it thunders, and when he lashes out, it gives off a thunderbolt." 

Ahmad and Ibn Hibban report from Abu Sa^id 'l-Khudari that the Prophet (s) said: 
"Tuba is a 'l-'l-Tirmidhiee in heaven with a span of a hundred years." 

79, (l asked for this so that my master would know) that I did not betray him behind 
his back' 



"I am not trying to exonerate myself!" 

And some of them We have preferred over others in sustenance." 


'l-fabaranl reports a tradition with a weak chain, from Ibn 'Umar who said: "I 
heard the Prophet (s) say: "yarmhu Allah rma yasha' wa yuthbit"(13:39) 82 except 
happiness, sadness, life, and death." Ibn Mardawaih reports from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah b. 
Wathab an interpretation of the verse: 'God effaces whatever He wishes, and confirms 
whatever He wishes." 1339 The Prophet (s) said: "He effaces sustenance and adds to 
it, and affaces predetermined times (of death) and increases it." Ibn Mardawaih also 
reports from Ibn 'Abbas taht the Prophet (s) was asked about the following verse: "God 
effaces or confirms whatever He wishes." He siad:"This takes place throughtout the 
Night of Power (layla 1-qadar)\ He raises, restores and sustains except in matters of 
happiness, grief, life, and death--these never change." Ibn Mardawaih also quotes from 
7\li that he asked the Prophet (s) the meaning of the foregoing verse. He said: "I will 
certianly cool your eyes with its explanation, and so too the eyes of my community after 
me: giving charity in the right way, being obedient to one's parents, and doing good 
deeds will change grief to happiness and lengthen one's life. 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from Ibn Mas^ud that the Prophet (s) said: "Whoever is 
given the quality of gratitude will not be denied bounties, for God does say: 'lf you are 
thankful to Me I will certainly grant you more." 147 

82, God effaces whatever He wishes, and affirms whatever He wishes." 


Ahmad, 'l-'l-Tirmidhi, '1-Nasa'i, Hakim, and others report a tradition~one that 'I- 
Hakirm deems saMz-from Abu 'Urmarma in which the Prophet (s) interprets the tollowing 
verse: "He shall be made to drink of the water that dis'l-'l-Tirmidhiesses, in unceasing 
gulps. . ." The Prophet (s) said: "When presented to him he will dislike it, and when 
brought closer it will scald him such that his scalp will fa.ll off. When he drinks of it his 
stomach will tear and pass through his anus. For God, Almighty, does say: "wa suqu 
ma'an hamiman fa qa#a'a arrf a'ahum" 83 (47:15) And He also says: "wa in yastaghithu 
yughathu bi ma'in ka 'l-muhl yashwi 'l-wujuh" 84 (18:29) 

Ibn Abu Hatim , 'l-f abarani and Ibn Mardawaih report from Ka^b b. Malik a marfu 
exegesis which the latter thought explained the following verse: "Sawa'un 'alaina 'a 
jaPna am sabarna ma lana min mahis" 85 (14:21) The Prophet (s) said: "The denizens of 
the Fire shall say: 'Come let us endure with patience.' This they will do for five hundred 
years until they realize that it does them no good. Then they say: "Let's mourn'. And 
they do for five hundred years, but when they realize that it does them no good, they 
say: "It is all one, we think, whether we suffer impatiently or do so with 

'l-'l-Tirmidhi, '1-Nasa'i, 'l-Hakim, Ibn Hibban, and others report from Anas the 
Prophet (s) commentary of the Following verses: "mathalan kalimatan jayyibatan ka 
shajaratin jayyibatin" 86 1424 and "wa mathalu kalimatin khabithatin ka shajaratin 
khabitahinin" 87 (14:27). The Prophet (s) said that the former was a date 'l-'l-Tirmidhiee 
and the latter like a Colocynth 'l-'l-Tirmidhiee. Ahmad, and Ibn Mardawaih narrate a 


"They would be given waters, boiling hot, that will tear their bowels asunder." 

84 "And when they ask for liquids, they will be given water, hot like (molten) lead, 
which will scald their faces" 

85 "lt is all one, we think, whether we suffer impatiently, or do so with forbearance; 
for us, there is no escape!" 

86 "The similitude of a good word is like a good tree. . ." 

87 + 

the similitude of a corrupt word is like a corrupt tree. . ." 


report with a sound chain from Ibn 'Urmar that the Prophet (s) said regarding the "good 
'l-'l-Tirmidhiee", that it was a date 'l-'l-Tirmidhiee, a 'l-'l-Tirmidhiee that did not shed its 

All six scholars report from 'l-Barra' b. 7\zib that the Prophet (s) said: "A Muslim, 
when questioned in the grave will reply: 'I bear witness that there is no god but God, and 
I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.' This is what is meant by the 
verse: "yuthabbitu Allah alladhina amanu bi 'l-qaul 'l-thabit fi 'l-hayat 'l-dunya wa fi 'I- 
akhirat" 88 (14:27) 

Muslim reports from Thauban that a Jewish rabbi came to the Prophet (s) and 
asked: "Where will people be on the day when the earth is turned inside out?' He 
replied:"They will be in darkness, away from the place of resurrection." Muslim, 'l-'l- 
Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja, and others report that W'isha said:"l was the first person the ask the 
Prophet (s) about the following verse: "yaum tubaddalu 'l-ard ghair 'l-'ard" 89 (14:48) I 
said: "Where will people be on that day?" He said: "On the s/rar." 90 

'l-fabarani reports in his work 1-Ausat, as do 'l-Bazzar, Ibn Mardawaih, and 'I- 
Baihaqi in the section on the resurrection from Ibn Mas^ud a commentary from the 
Prophet (s) of the following verse: "yaum tubaddalu 'l-ard ghair 'l-'ard" He said: "This 
will be a white earth as if made of silver; no blood shall have been spilled on it on any 
wrong done on it." 

88, God strengthens those who believe with the strong word in this life as well as in 
the one to corme.' 



'The day when this earth is replaced by another. . . ' 

This refers to abridge that extends over Hell over which all people will cross. 


'l-f abarani, Ibn Mardawaih, Ibn Hibban report from Abu Sa^id 'l-Khudari that he 
was asked: "Have you heard anything from the Prophet (s) on the verse: "rubarma 
yawaddu alladhina kafam lau kanu muslimin" 91 (15:2) Yes, I heard him say: "God will 
remove some of the believers from the Fire after having taken His re'l-'l-Tirmidhiibution 
from them.. Whilst still in Hell, these people will have been asked by the polytheists: 
'You claimed that you were the friends of God! Why then, are you here with us in the 
Fire! On hearing this God shall solicit intercessions on their behalf. Angels, prophets 
and believers will then intercede, with God's permission, on their behalf, until they leave. 
When the polytheist see this they will say: 'Alas! If only we were like them; intercession 
would also have been done for us, and we would have left with therm.' This therefore, is 
what is referred to by the verse: "rubama yawaddu alladhina kafam lau kanu muslimin" 
(15:2) This is corroborated by the traditions of Abu Musa 'l-'Ashfari, Jabir b. 'Abd Allah, 
and 7\li. 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from Anas a commentary from the Prophet (s) on the 
following verse: "li kulli bab minhum juz'un maqsum" 92 (15:44)1 The Prophet (s) said: 
"Some shall (enter these gates for) having ascribed partners with God, others, for 
having doubted Him, and others still, for having been unmindful of Him." 

Bukhari and 'l-'l-Tirmidhi report from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "The 
seven oft-repeated verses' and the 'sublime Qur'an ' are actually the 'rmother of the 
Qur'an ". 

'l-f abarani reports in his work, 1-'Ausat from Ibn 7\bbas that a man asked the 
Prophet (s) about the verse: "ka ma anzalna 'ala 'l-muqtasimin" 93 (15:90) He said that 
these were the Jews and the Christians. He was then asked what the word Idln in the 
following verse: "alladhina ja^alu 'l-Qur'an ^idln" 94 referred to, and he replied: " them 

91 "(A time will come when) those who disbelieve will wish that they had been 

92 "Each gate will receive its allotted share of sinners." 

93 "As We revealed to those who broke it up into parts. . ." 

94 "Those who pronounce this Qur'an false." 


believing in some parts and denying others." 

'I-'I-Tirmidhl, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abu Hatirm, and Ibn Mardawaih report that with regard 
to the verse: fa wa rabbika la nas'alannahum ajmaTn; 'armrma kanu ya^malun" 95 (15:92) 
the Prophet (s) said that they shall be asked about the statement: "There is no god but 

95 "By your Lord! We shall indeed call every one of them to account for what 
they've done" 


Ibn Mardawaih reports from 'l-Barra that the Prophet (s) when asked about the 
verse: "zidnahum 'adhaban fauq 'l-'adhab" 96 (16:88) explained: "This will be through 
scorpions resembling the spathes of palm trees in length and these will tear them to 
pieces in hell." 
1-lsra 1 

'l-Baihaqi, in his work, 1-Dalail, reports from Sa^id 'l-Muqburiyy that 'Abd Allah b. 
Salarm asked the Prophet (s) about the dark patches in the moon. He replied:"These 
were previously two suns. As God tells us: "wa ja^alna 'l-lail wa 'l-nahar ayatain fa 
mahauna ayat 'l-lail" 97 (17:12) The dark blotch that you see is the effacement." 

'I-Hakim reports in his work on history, as does 'l-Dailami from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah 
that the Prophet (s) said that the 'dignity' referred to in the verse: "wa laqad karramna 
bani Adam" 98 (17:70) pertains to them eating with their fingers." 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from 'Ali that with regard to the verse: "yauma nad^u kulla 
'unas bi imarmihim" "(17:71) the Prophet (s) said: "Every community will be summoned 
through their leaders and the scriptures of their Lord." 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from 'Umar b. 'I-Kha#ab that the Prophet (s) said that 
(duluk) in the verse: "aqim 'l-salat li duluk 'l-shams" 100 (17:71) refers to when the sun 
passes the zenith. 

'I-Bazzar reports a tradition from Ibn 'Urmar as does Ibn Mardawaih, using a weak 
chain, in which the Prophet (s) said: "Duluk 1-shams" is when the sun passes its zenith." 

'I-'I-Tirmidhl reports a tradition~one that he deemed sahih-as does 'l-Nasa'i, 


"We shall heap suffering upon suffering on them." 

97, And We made night and day two signs; and thereupon We effaced the sign of 
night. . .' 

98 "We have indeed dignified the children of Adam." 

99 "One day We shall summon all people by (addressing) their leaders." 

100 "Be constant in the prayer that is performed after the sun has passed its 


from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said about the verse: "inna Qur'an 'l-fajr kana 
mashhudan" 101 (17:78) that it is the angels of night and day who bear witness to it. 

101 "The recitation at dawn is indeed witnessed" 


Ahmad and others report from Abu Huraira that with regard to the verse: "'asa an 
yatf athaka rabbuka maqaman mahmudan" 102 (17:79) the Prophet (s) said: "This position 
is one where I intercede for my community." In one tradition the words are: "This is 
intercession." This tradition has several chains, long ones and short ones, in the sihah 
compendiums as well as in other works. 

The Shaikhan, (Bukharl and Muslim) and others report from Anas that the 
Prophet (s) was asked: "How will people be assembled on their faces?" He said: "The 
One who got them to walk on their legs certainly has the power to get them to walk on 
their faces!" 

Ahrmad and 'l-'l-Tirmidhl report from Abu Sa^ld 'l-Khudarl that the Prophet (s) 
said: "The awning (suradiq) of the Fire has four walls, and the thickness of each one is 
equal to the distance of walking for forty years." They also report the Prophet (s) as 
saying that the water in the verse: "bi rma' ka 'l-muhl" 103 (18:29) will be l"ike turbid oil 
whose heat will cause the skin to peel off ." 

Ahrmad also reports from the Prophet (s) that the verse: "wa 'l-baqiyat 'I- 
salihat" 104 (18:46) refers to the recitation of the following liturgies: 1-takblr, 1-tahlH, 1- 
tasbih, 1-hamd lillah, and la haul wa \aquwwata illa bi Allah. Ahmad also reports a marfu 
tradition on the authority of 'l-Nu'man b. Bashlr in which the same verse is said to refer 
to the recital of the following liturgies: "subhan Allah, wa 1-hamd lillah, a la ilaha illa Allah 
wa Allah akbar. 'l-f abaranl reports a similar tradition on the authority of Sa^d b. Junada. 
Ibn Jarlr also reports from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said that this refers to: 
"Subhan Allah, wa 1-hamd lillah, wa lailaha illa Allah wa Allah akbar. are "the goods 
deeds that endure." 

Ahmad reports from Abu Sa^ld that the Prophet (s) said: "The disbeliever will be 



"Your Lord may well raise you to a praiseworthy position." 
(They will be given) water hot like molten lead." 

104 ,. 

. . . the goods deeds that endure." 


persecuted for a period equal to fifty thousand years kin a manner quite unlike any task 
he may have performed in the world. And the disbeliever will be looking at Hell thinking 
that he is about to fall into it, from a distance equal to 40 years of travel." {Alternatiye_ 
translation: "A disbeliever shall be will overcome with calamity for fifty thousand years 
as if he had done no good whatsoever whilst on earth and he shall envision Hell for forty 
years believing all the while that he is on the verge of plunging therein."} 

'I-Bazzar reports a marfif tradition with a weak chain on the authority of Abu 
Dharr that the Prophet (s) said: "The chest that God mentions in His scripture is a tablet 
made of gold. I am astonished at the one who believes that God determines one's fate, 
and yet earns His wrath, and at one who does ponder over the Fire and yet, is able to 
be merry, and at one who does ponder over death and yet, remains oblivious to the fact 
that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." 

The Shaykhan report, on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: 
"When beseeching God do so by asking Him for 1-Firdaus\ it is the loftiest part of 
Heaven, as well as its center; from it all the rivers of Heaven flow." 

'l-f abarani reports, using a weak chain, on the authority of 'Urmar, that the 
Prophet (s) said: "The 'sariyy' that God speaks to Mary of in the verse: "qad ja^ala 
rabbuka sariyya" 105 (19:24) is a river that He provides her with to drink from." 

Muslim and others report from Shu^ba who said: "The Prophet (s) sent me to 
Najran, and the people there said: 'Why do you recite "Ya ukht hamn!" (19:28) 106 when in 
fact, Moses preceded Jesus by several years?' On returning to the Prophet (s) I told him 
of this, and he said:" Why did you not inform them that the Children of Israel customarily 
named their children after their prophets and their virtuous ancestors." 

105, God has provided a rivulet (sariyy) beneath you' 
106, O! sister of Aaron' 


Ahmad and the Shaikhan report form Abu SaCid that the Prophet (s) said: "When 
the denizens of Heaven shall enter therein and the denizens of Hell shall enter Hell, 
death will be brought forward in the form of a fat ram, and placed between heaven and 
hell. It will then be said: "O! denizens of Heaven! "Do you know this? He said: They will 
raise their gazes, look, and say:'Yes, this is death.' An order will then be given to 
slaughter death. Thereafter, it will be said: 'O People of Heaven! Your stay is eternal; 
there will be no death.' and "O People of Hell! Your stay too is sternal; there will be no 
death." Then the Prophet (s) recited: "wa andhirum yaum 'l-hasrat idh qudiya 'l-'amr; wa 
hum fi ghaflat" 107 (19:39) The Prophet (s) then indicated with his hand that people in this 
world remain heedless. 

Ibn Jarlr reports from Abu 'Umama that the Prophet (s) said: "Gayy and 'Atham 
are wells in the depths of Hell, through which the pus of the people of the Fire flows." 
Ibn Kathir however, said that this tradition is rejected. 

Ahrmad reports from Abu Sumayya: "We argued about the word the wurtid: whilst 
some said that "No believer shall enter it", others maintained that: "All shall enter it; 
then God will save those who were fearful of Him." On meeting Jabir b. 'Abd Allah, I 
asked him, and he told me: 'I heard the Prophet (s) say: 'Every righteous and 
unrighteous person without exception will enter it. But for the believer it will be cool and 
peaceful as it had been for Abraham. This in fact will prompt Hell to complain about the 
cold. Then God will save those who were fearful of Him and leave the evildoers therein, 
on their knees." 

Muslim and 'l-'l-Tirmidhi report from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "lf God 
loves someone Gabriel (is asked to) proclaim: 'I love so and so now therefore, love him 
too. And then the love descends to the earth for the benefit of that person. This is the 
meaning of the verse: "Sa yaf alu lahum 'l-rahman wuddan" 108 (19:96) 

107 "Warn them of the day of regrets, when everything will have been decided, 
and they will be heedless." 

108 "God will endow them with Love" 


Ibn Hibban and 'l-'l-Tirmidhl report from Jundub b. 7\bd Allah that the Prophet (s) 
said: "lf you come upon a sorcerer, kill him. He then recited the verse: "wa la yuflihu 'I- 
sahir haithu ata" 109 (20:69) He said: 'Wherever he may be, he will find no peace." 

109 "A sorcerer can never come to any good." 


'I-Bazzar reports a tradition with a sound chain from the Prophet (s) in which he 
says that the verse: "fa inna lahu maTshatan dankan" 110 (20:124) refers to the 
punishment of the grave. 

Ahmad reports from Abu Huraira who said: I said: "O Messenger of God! "Tell me 
aboutthe meaning of "everything"? He said: 'Everything' is created from water." 111 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Yala b. 'Umayya that the Prophet (s) said: "Hoarding 
food in the city of Mecca is heresy." 

'I-'I-Tirmidhi reports a tradition which he deermed hasan, from Ibn 'l-Zubair who 
said that the Prophet (s) said:: "It (the Ka^ba) is called the "Free House" because no 
tyrant was able to control it." 

Ahrmad reports from Khuraym b. Fatik 'l-'Asadi that the Prophet (s) said: "False 
testimony has been made equal to ascribing partners with God." Then he recited the 
verse: "fa ijtanibu 'l-rijsa min 'l-authan wa ijtanibu qaul 'l-zur" 112 (22:30) 


Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Murra 'l-Bahzi who said: "I heard the Prophet (s) say 
to a man: 'You will die at Rabwa, and so he died at 'l-Ramlat. ' Ibn Kathir said that the 
tradition is quite strange. 

Ahrmad reports from 'A'isha that with regard to the verse: " wa alladhina yu'tauna 
ma atau wa gulubuhum wajilat" 113 (23:60) sheasked the Prophet (s) if "this referred to a 

110 "His life shall be one of dire straits." 

m This is a reference to the verse: "And from water We created every living 

112 "Shun the loathsome practice of idola'l-'l-Tirmidhiy and shun too, all false 

113 "And those who give what they are supposed to give, and their hearts 'l-'l- 
Tirmidhiemble. . . " 


person who steals, tornicates, consumes intoxicants and yet remains fearful of God? He 
replied: 'No! O Daughter of 'l-Siddiq! "Rather, it refers to one who fasts, prays, gives 
charity, and remains fearful of God." 

Ahrmad and 'l-'l-Tirmidhi report from Abu Sa^id that with regard to the verse: "wa 
hum fiha kalihun" 114 (23:104) the Prophet said: The fire will roast him causing his upper 
lips to shrivel up to the middle of his head, and the lower would droop to his navel." 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Abu Sura b. Akhu Abu-'Ayyub that he said to the 
Prophet (s) : " O Messenger fo God! I know what 'salam' is, but what is "\-'isti'nas'7 He 
replied: That a man invoke praises to God when speaking, that he glority and extol Him, 
and that he say 'aherm' to seek permission before entering a dwelling." 115 

Ibn Abu Hatirm reports from Yahya b. Abu SaCid a marfif tradition wherein the 
Prophet (s) is asked about the verse: "wa idha 'ulqu minha makanan dayyiqan 
muqarranin" 116 (25:13) He said: "By Him in whose hands is my life! They will surely be 
flung into the fire, against their will, much like a peg is driven into a wall." 


'l-Bazzar reports from Abu Dharr that the Prophet (s), when asked which of the 
two periods Moses completed, said: "The period that was more complete and more 
pious." He then said: "lf asked which of the two women he married, say: The younger of 
them." While the chain of this tradition is weak, it nonetheless, is supported by other 
complete, as well as mursal traditions. 

114 "They will grin therein with lips contorted." 

115 This is a reference to the verse: "O Ye who Believe! Ewnter not dwellings ohter 
thwan your own until you have sought permission (ista'nasu) and sent greetings to its 
members. . . "2427 

116 ". . .and when they are flung, linked together, into a tight space. . . " 


Ahmad and others report from Umm Hani' a tradition that 'l-'l-Tirmidhi deemed 
hasan, in which she says: "I asked the Prophet (s) about the verse: "Wa ta'tuna fi 
nadikum 1-munkar" 117 (29:29) and he said: They would harass people on the streets, 
and mock them. This was the vile deed that they perpetrated.' 

1-'I-Tirmidhi and others report a tradition with a weak chain from Abu 'Urmarma 
that the Prophet (s) said: "Neither sell songstresses nor yet purchase, or teach them 
(this profession); there is no good in trading in them, and such earnings are prohibited. 
It is in this regard that the following verse was revealed: "wa min 'l-nas man yashtari 
lahwa 'l-hadith li yudill ^an sabil Allah" 118 (3:16) 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Ibn 'Abbas, that the Prophet (s) said with regard to 
the verse: "ahsana kulla shay'in khalqahu" 119 (7:32) that "while the behind of a monkey 
may not be pretty, it has nonetheless, been created with great wisdom." 

Ibn Jarir reports from Mu^adh b. Jabal that the Prophet (s) said with regard to the 
verse: "tatajafa junubahum 'an 'l-madaJM" 120 (32:16) refers to "the servant (of God) 
awakening at night (to pray)." 

'l-fabarani reports from Ibn 'Abbas, that with regard to the verse: "wa ja^alnahu 
hudan li bani lsra'H" 121 (32:23) the Prophet said that it refers to Him making Moses a 
source of guidance to the Children of Israel. And with regard to the verse: "fa la takun fi 
miryat min liqa'ihi" 122 he said that it refers to Moses meeting his Lord. 

117, And you perpe'l-'l-Tirmidhiate these vile deeds in your public spaces. . . ' 

118 "And among people there are those who 'l-'l-Tirmidhiade in idle banter so as to 
mislead from the path of God" 

119 "He who makes excellent everything He creates." 

120 "Whose sides restlessly rise from sleep" 

121 "And We made him (Moses) a source of guidance for the Children of Israel." 

122 "Be not in doubt about meeting Him." 



'l-'l-Tirmidhi reports from Mu^awiya who said: "I heard the Prophet (s) say: Talha 
is among those 'who sacriticed their lives.' 

'I-'I-Tirmidhi and others report from 'Amr b. Abu Salama, as do Ibn Jarir, and 
others, also from Umm Salama, that when the verse: "innama yurid Allah li yudhhiba 
'ankum 'l-rijsa ahl 'l-bait wa yujahhirakum tathiran" 123 (33:33) the Prophet (s) summoned 
Fatima, 7\li, Hasan, and Hussain. 

Ahrmad and others report from Ibn 7\bbas that a man asked the Prophet (s) about 
whether "Saba"' was male, female, or some land? He replied: "Rather, it refers to a 
man who had ten children, six of whom lived in Yermen and four in Syria." 

Bukhari reports a martu tradition which states: "When God decrees a matter in 
the heavens angels, out of fear, flap their wings noisily, like chains battering rocks. After 
their fear has dissipated they proclaim: 'What is it that your Lord hath decreed! The 
Truth! He is indeed, Lofty and Great." 

Ahmad and 'l-'l-Tirmidhi report from Abu Sald 'l-Khudari that in regard to the 
verse: "thumma aurathna 'l-kitab alladhina isjafaina min 'ibadina; fa minhum Zalim li 
nafsihi wa minhum muqtasid; wa minhum sabiq bi 'l-khairat" 124 (35:32)the Prophet (s) 
said: All these people are on the same level; all of them are in Heaven" 

123 "God only wants to remove from you all that is loathsome, O People (of the 
Prophet (s)) household." 

124 "And thus have We vouchsafed this divine scripture as a heritage to those We 
choose from among Our servants. And among them some do injustice to themselves, 
others are half way between good and evil, and others still, outdo others in deeds of 
goodness." He said: "All three of them are in the same position; all three will go to 


Ahmad and others report from Abu 'l-Darda who said: "I heard the Messenger of 
God (s) say with regard to the verse: "thumma aurathna 'l-kitab alladhlna isjafaina min 
'ibadina; fa minhum Zalim li nafsihl wa minhum muqtasid; wa minhum sabiq bi 'I- 
khairat" 125 (35:34) that those: "who outdo others in deeds of goodness, shall enter 
heaven without reckoning, those who are half way between good and evil shall have a 
light reckoning, and those who do injustice to themselves, shall remain in captivity 
throughout the period of Reckoning." Thereafter, God, through His rmercy will redress 
their situation, whereupon they will proclaim: "'l-harmd li Allah alladhl 'adhhaba 'anna 'I- 
huzn" 126 (35:34) 

'l-f abaranl and Ibn Jarlr report from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (s) said: "On the 
Day of Judgement a call will be made: 'Where are those who are in their sixties?' This is 
the age that God speaks of in the verse: "'a wa lam nu^ammirkum ma yatadhakkar flhi 
man tadhakkara" 127 (35:37) 

The Shaikhan report from Abu Dharr who said: I asked the Prophet about the 
verse: "wa 'l-shams tajrl li mustaqarr laha" 128 (36:38) and he said that it this is its 
predetermined course underneath the Throne. They also report him saying: "I was with 
the Prophet (s) in the mosque at sunset when he said: 'O Abu Dharr! Do you know 
where the sun sets. I replied:: 'God and His Messenger know best.' He said: 'lt 
continues until it prostrates under the Throne. And this is alluded to in the verse: "wa 'I- 
shams tajrl li mustagarr laha" 

125 "And thus have We vouchsafed this divine scripture as a heritage to those we 
choose from among Our servants. And among them some do injustice to themselves, 
others are half way between good and evil, and others still, outdo others in deeds of 

126, Praise God who removed from us this sorrow." 

127, Did We not grant you a life with time enough to become conscious.' 

128 "l asked the Prophet (s) about the verse: 'And the sun runs its predetermined 



Ibn Jarlr reports from Umm Salama that she asked the Prophet (s) about the 
verse: "wakr 'ain" 129 (37:49) and he said: This is the one who has large eyes. And the 
eyelashes of the maidens in heaven are like the wings of the eagle." I said::' Tell me 
about God's statement: "ka'annahunna baid maknun" 130 (37:49) He said: Their 
tenderness is like that of the membrane underneath the shell of the egg." The word 
shufr should be read with a fa' as the governed noun of the word 1-haura. The latter are 
the eyelashes. Though this is self evident, one still finds, in this era, neglectful people 
who write it with a qaf. They then say that in the foregoing statement 1-haurS mithljanah 
1-nathr, is the subject, and fi 1-sur^at wa 1-khiffat is the predicate. This then means that 
the maidens of heaven are like eagles in swiftness and speed--an interpretation that is 
patently false and ignorant, it is a heresy in religion, and a show of insolence towards 
God and the Prophet (s). 

'I-'I-Tirmidhi and others report from Samura that the Prophet (s) said that the 
verse: "wa ja^alna dhurriyataha hum 'l-baqln" 131 (37:77) referred to Harm, Sarm and Yafith. 
And through a different source he is reported to have said: "Sam is the ancestor of the 
Arabs, Ham of the Abyssinians, and Yafith of the Romans. And he reports from 'Ubayy 
b. Ka^b that on asking the Prophet (s) about the verse: "wa arsalna ila mi'at alf au 
yazidun" 132 he was told: "They exceeded twenty thousand." 

Ibn 'Asakir reports from 'Ala b. Sa^d that the Prophet (s) once said to those 
seated alongside hirm:: "The sky complains, and rightly so, for it is filled to capacity with 
angels who prostrate and bow." He then recited the verse: "wa inna la nahnu 'l-saffun; 


"O Messenger of God! Tell me about the 'companions with lus'l-'l-Tirmidhious 



'as if they are the concealed eggs (of the ostrich) 


And We caused his offspring to endure on earth." 
132 "And We sent him to a hundred thousand or more." 


wa inna lanahnu 'l-musabbihun" 133 (37:165) 


133 "We too, stand in rows betore Him; we too, glority Him." 


Abu Yala and Ibn Abu Hatirm report from 'Uthrman b. 'Affan that he asked the 
Prophet (s) the meaning of the verse: "lahu maqalid 'l-samawat wa 1-ard" 134 (39:63), and 
was told: "No one before you asked me about this! It refers to the following supplication: 
"There is no god but God, who is the greatest." And: "Praise God! and glority Him! I 
seek the forgiveness of God. There is no might, no power besides God. He is the First 
and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, to Him belongs all good; He gives life and 
causes to die. This tradition is strange and highly objectionable. 

Ibn Abu 'l-Dunya reports on the authority of Abu Huraira, that when the Prophet 
asked Gabriel about the verse: "fa sa'iqa man fi 'l-samawat wa man fi 'l-ard illa man 
sha^a Allah" 135 (39:68) and which creatures will be exempt from falling down senseless: 
He replied: "They are the martyrs." 

Ahmad, Ashab 'l-Sunan, 'l-Hakim and Ibn Hibban report from Nu^man b. Bashir 
that the Prophet (s) said: "Supplication is indeed the foremost form of worship." Then he 
recited the verse: "ud^uni astajiblakum; inna alladhina yastakbiruna 'an 'ibadati sa 
yadkhuluna jahannam dakhirin" 136 (40: 60) 

'1-Nasa'i, 'l-Bazzar, Abu Yala and others report from Anas that the Prophet (s) 
recited the following verse to them: "inna alladhina qalu rabbuna Allah thumma 
istaqarmu" 137 (41:30) He then said: "Some people had uttered it and then most of them 
apostatized; thus whoever continues to utter it until he dies will be of those who remain 
firm on it." 


"To Him belong the keys to the heavens and the earth." 

135 "(The 'l-'l-Tirmidhiumpet will be sounded) and all creatures in heaven and on 
earth will fa.ll down senseless except such as God exempts." 

136 "Call Me and I shall respond; verily those too proud to worship Me shall enter 
hell, abased." 

137 "lndeed those who say: 'My lord is God and then remain firm. . .' 



Ahmad and others report that 7\ll said: "Should I intorm you of the lottiest verse 
in the Qur'an , as told to us by the Prophet (s) ? He then recited: "wa rma asabakum min 
musibat fa bima kasabat aidikum; wa yaTu 'an kathir" 138 (42:30) The Prophet (s) said: "I 
shall explain it to you O x Ali. Whatever illness, punishment or calamity betalls you on 
this earth it is a consequence of your action. God is above having to punish you a 
second time in the life to come. As for that which He overlooks in this world: God is far 
too benevolentto revoke His amnesty." 

Ahmad, 'l-'l-Tirmidhi and others report from Abu 'Urmarma that the Prophet (s) 
said: "No community, once rightly guided, has ever gone astray except those that 
resorted to bickering." He then recited the verse: "ma darabuhu laka illa jadalan; bal hum 
qaum khasimun" 139 (43:58) 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "Every denizen 
of hell will look, with regret, at the place (he failed to attain) in heaven and then he will 
say: "lau anna Allah hadani la kuntu min 'l-muttaqin" 140 And every denizen of Heaven 
will look at the place (he was saved from) and he will say: "wa ma kunna li nahtadiya lau 
la an hadana Allah" 141 (43:43) For this he will be thankful. The Prophet (s) also said: 
"Every being has a place in Heaven as well as in the Fire: the disbeliever inherits the 
believer's place in hell and the believer inherits the disbeliever's place in Heaven. This 
is the meaning of the verse: "wa tilka 'l-jannat allati 'urithtumuha bima kuntum 
talamun" 142 (43:72) 

138 "Whatever calamity befalls you is a consequence of your own doings, although 
He does overlook a great deal." 

139 They put this to you only to make argument; they are indeed, belligerent 

140, lf only God had guided me I would certainly have been of the God-fearing.' 

141, We would certainly not have been guided if God had not done so." 

142 "Such is the paradise which you shall have inherited because of your past 



'l-f abaranl and Ibn Jarlr narrate a tradition with a sound chain from Abu Malik 'I- 
'AsrTarl that the Prophet (s) said: "Your Lord has warned by way of three things: the 
smoke which will overcome a believer like the common Cold and inflate the disbeliever 
to the extent the it will ooze out of each of his ears. The second thing is the wild beast 
and the third, the Anti-Christ. This tradition is corroborated by others. 



'I-'I-Tirmidhi, Abu Yala and Ibn Abu Hatirm report from Anas that the Prophet (s) 
said: "Every servant of God has two doors in Heaven, one through which his good 
deeds and words enter and the other through which his sustenance exits; when he dies 
they miss him and shed tears for him." He then recited the following verse: "fa ma bakat 
'alaihim 'l-sarma' wa 'l-ard" 143 (44:29) He then pointed out that the latter, whilst still on 
earth, did nothing worthwhile to cause them (The skies and the earth) to shed tears for 
them; thus no good words or actions made their way up to heaven, and there was 
therefore no feeling of loss, nor any remorse at their loss. 

Ibn Jarlr reports a mursal tradition from Shuraih b. 'Ubaid 'l-Hadrami that the 
Prophet (s) said: "Any believer who dies in exile, far removed from those who would 
have shed tears over his passage, will have the sky and the earth shed those tears." He 
then recited the verse:"fa rma bakat 'alaihim 'l-sama' wa 'l-ard" 144 He then said that the 
sky and the earth weep not over the death of a disbeliever. 
1- , Ahq3f 

Ahmad reports from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (s) said that the verse: "au 
atharatin min 'ilm" 145 (46:40) referred to script. 


"And neither sky nor earth shed tears for them." 


And neither sky nor earth shed tears over him." 


(Bring me) any other piece of knowledge" 


'I-'I-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarlr report from 'Ubayy b. Ka^b that he heard the Prophet 
(s) say that the verse: "wa alzamahum kalimat 'l-taqwa" 146 (49:26) reters to the 
invocation: 'There is no god but God." 


Abu Dawud and 'l-'l-Tirmidhi report from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) was 
asked: "O Messenger of God! What is back biting?" He said: "To say things about your 
brother that he dislikes." It was said: "What if my brother fits the description!" He said: "lf 
indeed he does then you are guilty of backbiting, and if not, then you have slandered 

Bukhari reports from Anas that the Prophet (s) said: "Countless people will be 
thrown into the Fire but its only refrain will be: 'Are there more! God will then put His foot 
in at which the Fire will say: 'Enough! Enough! 

'L-Bazzar reports from 'Urmar that the verse: "wa 'l-dhariyat dharwan" refers to the 
winds; "fa 'l-jariyat yusran" refers to the ships; and "fa 'l-muqassimat 'amran" 147 (51:l,3,4) 
refers to the angels." If not for hearing this from the Prophet (s) I would not have 
mentioned it." 

In the appendix to the work, 1-Musnad v Abd Allah b. Ahmad (b. Hanbal) quotes 
'Ali as saying: The Messenger of God said: "Believers along with their progeny will be in 
Heaven, and Disbelievers along with their progeny will be in Hell Fire." The Messenger 
of God then recited the verse: "wa alladhina armanu wa ittaba^athum dhurriyyatuhum bi 
lrman alhagna bihim dhurriyyatahum." 148 (52:21) 

146 "And bound them to words of god-consciousness" 

147 "By the winds that scatter dust. . .by the ships that float so easily, and by the 
angels that distribute provisions." 

148 "As for those who believe, and whose progeny follows them in belief, We join 



their progeny to them." 


Ibn Jarlr reports, as does Ibn Abu Hatirm by way of a weak chain, on the authority 
of Abu 'Urmarma that on reciting the verse: "wa Ibrahlm alladhl waffa" 149 (53:37) the 
Prophet (s) asked: "Do you know what he fulfilled?" I said: "God and His Messenger 
know best" He said: "He fulfilled his daily duties by performing four prayer cycles 
(rakaat) at the beginning of the day." 

And these two narrators also report form Mu^adh b. Anas that the Prophet (s) 
said: 'Must I tell you why God called His friend "the one who fulfilled"? It is because he 
in the mornings and the evenings: "fa subhan Allah hlna tumsun wa hlna tusbiMn" 
150 (30:17) 

And 'l-Baghawl reports, on the authority of 'Ubayy b. Ka^b that with regard to the 
verse: "wa anna ila rabbika 'l-muntaha" 151 (53:42) the Porphet (s) said: "There should 
not be any deep thopught about the essence of God." 'L-Baghawl said: "This is similar 
to the tradition that states: "Ponder over the creation of God, and ponder not over the 
essence of God." 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports on the authority of Abu 'l-Darda' that with regard to the 
verse: "kulla yaum huwa fl sha'n" 152 (55:29) the Prophet (s) said: "It is part of His glory 
to pardon some sin, to alleviate some plight, to raise one community, and to humble 
another." Ibn Jarlr reports a similar tradition on the authority of 7\bd Allah b. Munlb. 'I- 
Bazzar too, reports such a tradition on the authority Ibn 'Urmar. 

The Shaikhan report on the authority of Abu Musa '1-AsrTarl that the Prophet (s) 
said: "There are two gardens of silver, including the utensils and everything else therein, 
and two gardens of gold, including the utensils and everything else therein." 

149 "And of Abraham who fulfilled. . ." 

150 "So glority God when you come upon the evening and when you come upon 
the morning." 

151 "And that it is unto your Lord that is the culmination." 

152 "Ever day He is in full glory" 


'L-Baghawi reports on the authority of Anas b. Malik that on reciting the verse: 
"hal jaza' 'l-ihsan illa 1-ihsan" 153 (55:60) the Prophet (s) said: "Do you know what your 
Lord has said?" They replied: "God and His Messenger know best." He said: "He says: 
Can the reward for one whom I have favored with belief in the Oneness of God be 
anything but paradise." 

Abu Bakr 'l-Najjad reports from Salirm b. Wrmir that a bedouin approached and 
asked: "O Messenger of God! God mentions a tree in Heaven that would do harm to a 
person. What is is? He said: It is the Lotus tree, which has harmful thorns." The 
Messenger of God (s) then recited the verse: "fi sidr maqhdud" 154 (56:28) and said: 
"God cut off its thorns and replaced each one with a fruit." This is corroborated by a 
tradition of 'Utba b. 'Abd 'l-Sulami that is reported by Abu Dawud in the section on 

The Shaikhan report on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "In 
Heaven is a tree under whose shade a traveler may journey for a hundred years 
without passing through. If you'd like, read the verse: "wa Zill marmdud" 155 (56:34) 

'l-Tirmidhi and '1-Nasa'i report on the authority of Abu Sald 'l-Khudari that with 
regard to the verse: "wa furush marfu'at" 156 (56:34) the Prophet (s) said: "Their height 
equals the distance between the Heavens and the earth, and it would take five hundred 
years to cover it." 

153 "Can the requital for virtue be any thing but virtue." 
154 "Among thornless Lotus trees." 


'ln a lengthy shade." 
156 "On couches raised high." 


'L-'l-Tirmidhi reports on the authority of Anas that with regard to the verse: "inna 
ansha'nahunna insha'an" 157 (56:35-37) the Prophet (s) said: "This reters to old women 
who were bleary eyed on earth." And in his work 1-Shamall he reports on the authority 
of Hasan who said: "An old woman came and asked: 'O messenger of God! Implore 
God that He grant me entry into Heaven." He replied: "O mother of so and so! An old 
woman will not enter Paradise." She turned away, crying." He then said: "Tell her that 
she will not enter as an old woman, for God says: "inna ansha'nahunna insha'an; fa 
ja^alnahunna abkaran 'uruban atraban" 158 (56:35-27) Ibn Abu Hatirm reports on the 
authority of JaTar b. Muhammad from his father, from his father, who said: "The 
Messenger of God (s) said: "the word ^urub refers to them speaking Arabic." 

'L-f abarani reports from Umm Salama that she said: "O Messenger of God! Tell 
me about the statement of the Almighty: "wa Mr Tn" 159 (56:22)." He said: "Mr refers to 
whiteness, and ^ln to the largeness of the eyes, with eyebrows like the wings of an 
eagle." I said: "Tell me about the statement of the Almighty: "ka armthal lu'lu' 'l-maknun" 
160 (56:22)" He said: "Their purity is comparable to that of a pearl that is untouched 
because it is covered by an oyster." I said: "Tell me about the verse: "fihinna khairat 
hisan" 161 (55:70)" He said: "The word khairat refers to their character, and isan to their 
countenance." I said: "Tell me about the verse: "ka annahunna baid rmaknun" 


(37:49)" He said: "They are as delicate as the membrane one sees inside the egg just 


below the shell" I said: "Tell me about the verse: "'uruban atraban" (56:27)" He said: 

157 "We have turned them into maidens of special creation." 

158 "We have indeed, turned them into maidens of special creation; and We have 
made them virgins, (along with other persons) of equal age." 

159 "Wide eyed maidens" 
160 "Like preserved pearls" 

161 "Therein reside wholesome, and beautiful (spouses) 
162 "(pure and delicate) like concealed eggs." 

i63,« We ^ ave mac | e t h em virgins, (along with other persons) of equal age." 


"When raised from the abode of this world they were old, bleary eyed, and grey haired. 
God resurrects them afterwards as young virgins. The word ^uruban refers to them 
becoming objects of passion and love, while atraban refers to them having the same 

Ibn Jarlr reports on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that with regard to the verse: 
"thullat min awwalln wa thullat min 'l-akhirln" 164 (56:39-40)" The Messenger of God (s) 
said: "They will all be of my community." 

164 "Many of those in the first generation, and many of those in the latter 


Ahmad and 'l-Tirmidhi from 'All that the Messenger of God (s) said that the 
verse: "wa taf alun rizqakum" refers to your gratitude and the verse: "annakum 
tukadhdhibun" 165 (56:82) refers to them saying: 'our rains are due to such and such 

'l-Tirmidhl reports a tradition which he also authenticates, on the authority of 
Umm Salama that with regard to the verse: "wa la ya^slnaka fl ma'ruf" 166 (60:12) the 
Prophet (s) said: "That is wailing" 

The shaikhan report from Ibn 'Urmar that he had divorced his wife whilst she was 
pregnant. 'Urmar related this to the Prophet (s) whereupon he was angered, and said: 
"Let him take her back, and hold on to her until she is cleansed of her rmenses. 
Therearter, is he so chooses then he may divorce her in her state of purity, but before 
having sex with her. This is the time frame within which God has instructed that women 
be divorced. The Messenger of God (s) then recited the verse: "idha tallaqtum 'l-nisa' fa 
talliquhunna li ^iddatihinna" 167 (65:1) 

'L-f abaranl reports on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (s) said: "The 
first things that God created were the Pen and the fish. He then said: "Write!" It replied: 
"What shall I write?" He said: "Everything that will occur till the Day of Resurrection." 
Then the Prophet (s) recited: "Nun wa 'l-qalam. . ." (68:1) The word ntin refers to the 
fish, and qalam refers to the Pen." 

165 "And instead of being grateful you impute the source of your sustenance to 
false causes." 

166 "And that they not disobey in that which is right." 

167 "When divorcing women do so in accordance with their periods. 


Ibn Jarir reports from Mu^awiya b. Qurrat who reports from his father, that with 
regard to the verse: "Nun! Wa 'l-qalam wa ma yasjurun" 168 (68:1) the Prophet (s) said: 
The tablet is made of Light, and so too is the Pen made of light; it flows with information 
pertaining to everything that will occur till the Day of Resurrection." Ibn Kathlr said that 
this tradition is mursal, gharlb. He also quotes Zaid b. Thabit as saying that the 
Messenger of God said: "The Sky weeps for that servant whose physique God had 
restored, whose belly He kept expanded (with food), and to whom he gave enormous 
amounts of this world. But he was unjust with people, and it is in reference to him that 
the words 1-^utul 1-zanlm are used." This is a mursal tradition that is corroborated by 

Abu Yala and Ibn Jarlr report a tradition with some unknown narrators, from 
7\bu Musa that with regard to the verse: "yauma yukshafu 'an saq" 169 (68:42) the 
Prophet (s) said: "This refers to a bright light towards which they shall f3.ll, prostrate. 

Ahrmad reports from 'Abu Sa^id that the Prophet (s) was asked how long the day 
in the following verse would be: "fi yaum kana miqdaruhu khamsin alf sanat" 170 (70:4) 
He said: "By Him in whose hands is my life! This day will be made effortless on the 
believer so much so that to him it would seerm easier than the prescribed prayers that 
he performs in the world" 

'l-f abarani reports from Ibn 'Abbas that with regard to the verse: "fa iqra'u ma 
tayassara rminhu" 171 (73:20) the Prophet (s) said: "A hundred verses." Ibn Kathir said 
that this tradition was extremely strange. 

168 "Nun! By the Pen and all that they write." 

169 "On the day when the calf shall be laid bare. . ." 

170 "On a day whose length shall be greater than a thousand years." 

171 "Recite as much as you are able to." 


Ahmad and 'l-Tirmidhi report from 'Abu Sa^ld that the Prophet (s) said: "'1-Sa'ud 
is a mountain of fire that one will clirmb for seventy years before plunging off it for just as 

Ahrmad, '1-Nasa'l and 'l-Tirmidhi report a tradition that the latter deemed 
authenticated, from Anas that on reciting the verse: "Huwa ahl 'l-taqwa wa ahl 'I- 
maghfirat" 172 (74:56)the Prophet (s) said: "Your Lord says: 'I alone am worthy of being 
held in awe; therefore, ascribe not other gods as partners to Me. Whoever fears 
ascribing partners towith Me is worthy of My forgiveness." 

'l-Bazzar reports from Ibn 'Urmar that the Prophet (s): "None shall leave the Fire 
until he's spent several ahqabs therein: each huqub comprises of eighty odd years, and 
each of those years equals three hundred and sixty of your days." 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Buraid b. 'Abu Maryam who reports from his father 
that the Prophet (s) said that the verse: "Idha 'l-shams kuwwirat" 173 refers to it being 
covered by Hell. And he said that the verse: "wa idha 'l-nujum inkadarat" 174 (81:1-2) 
refers to them falling into Hell. He also reports from Nu^man b. Bashlr that with regard to 
the verse: "wa idha 'l-nufus zuwwijat" 175 (81:7) the Prophet (s) said: "Every man will be 
coupled with the community whose acts he indulged in." 

Ibn Jarlr and 'l-f abaranl report a tradition with a weak chain by way of Musa b. 
'All b. Rabah from his father, from his grandfather, that the Prophet (s) said: "What will 
be born to you?" He said: "Nothing yet, but it can only be a male or a female!" He said : 
"Who will it resemble?" He said: "Who but his mother or his father?" So the Prophet (s) 

172 "He alone should be held in awe, and He alone is capable of forgiving." 
173 "When the sun is covered in darkness" 
174 "When the stars fall and lose their light." 
175 "And when all human beings are coupled." 


said: "Stop! DorYt speak that way! When the sperm settles in the womb God brings it 
face to face with its ascendants right through to Adam. Have you not recited the verse: 
"fi ayyi surat rma sha'a rakkabak" 176 (82:8) This means that He formed you according to 

Ibn v Asakir in his work on history reports from Ibn 'Urmar that the Prophet (s) said: 
"Indeed, they were named 'the reverent ones' only because of their kind treatment of 
their parents and their children." 

176 "ln whatever form He so willed you to have. . ." 


The Shaikhan report from Ibn 'Urmar that with regard to the verse: "yauma yaqum 
'l-nas li rabb 'l-'alamln" 177 (83:6) the Prophet (s) said that this reters to "when one among 
them will be immersed in his sweat haltway to his earlobes." 

Ahrmad, 'l-Tirmidhl, '1-Nasa'l, and 'l-Hakim report a tradition which the latter 
deermed sahih, from Ibn 'Abbas and Abu Huraira, that the Prophet (s): "When the 
servant of God sins it creates a black speck on his heart; and if he repents his heart 
shines. But if he persists in sinning it engulfs his whole heart, as is alluded to in the 
verse: "Kalla bal rana 'ala qulubihim ma kanu yaksibun" 178 (83:14) 

Ahmad, the Shaikhan, and others report from 'A'isha that the Prophet (s) said: 
"Every person who's reckoning is queried will be punished." She said: "But does God 
not say: 179 (84:8) He said: "That is not the real reckoning: it is no more than a review." 

Ahmad also reports that A'isha said: "I said: "O Messenger of God! What is 
meant by this 'light reckoning'?' He said: "It is when his book is examined and his sins 
overlooked. But one whose records are queried, on that day, will indeed be punished.' 

Ibn Jarlr reports from Abu Malik 'l-Ashfarl that the Prophet (s) said:" 1-yaum 1- 
mauud"\s the Day of Resurrection, the 'shahid' is Friday, and the 'mashhud' is the "Day 
of ^Aratah." This tradition is corroborated. 

'l-f abaranl reports from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet (s) said: "God created the 
Divine Tablet with white pearl, its pages are of red rubies, His pen is of light, and its 
script is luminous. God Almighty, peruses it 360 times daily to create, to sustain, to give 
and to take life, to honor and to dishonor, and to do whatever He wishes." 


"On the day when all men shall stand in front of the Lord of the worlds." 


Indeed, that which they have earned has covered their hearts with rust." 


He will be called to reckon, with an easy reckoning." 


'I-Bazzar reports from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah, that the Prophet (s) that the verse: "qad 
aflaha man zakkaha" 180 (87:14) reters to "one who bears witness that there is no other 
deity but God, renounces the notion of Him having any partners, and bears witness that 
I am the Messenger of God." As for the verse: "wa dhakara isma rabbihi fa salla" 181 
(87:15) he said, refers to the five daily prayers, guarding them, and paying special 
attention to them." 

'I-Bazzar reports that Ibn 'Abbas said: "When the verse: "inna hadha la fi 'l-suhuf 
'l-'ula" 182 (87:18) was revealed, the Prophet (s) said: This was~or all of this was~in the 
scriptures of Abraham and Moses." 

Ahmad and 'l-Nasa'i report from Jabir that the Prophet (s) said: "By '^ashr' is 
meant the ten days of the T£id of 'l-Adha, by 'watr' is meant the day of 'Arafa, and by '1- 
shaf^' is meant the day of sacrifice." Ibn Kathir said: 'The narrators of this tradition are 
okay, but there is a problem designating it a 'marfu' tradition" Ibn Jarir reports a 

marfu tradition on the authority of Jabir, that says: "1-shaf^ refers to two days, and 1- 
watr is the third day." 

Ahrmad and 'l-Tirmidhi report from 'Irmran b. Husain that the Prophet (s) was 
asked about the words '1-shaf and 1-watr'. He replied: "These are the daily prayers; 
some end in twos and some in ones." 

Ahrmad reports from 'l-Barra that a man came to the Prophet (s) and said: "Teach 
me a deed that will grant me paradise." The Prophet (s) said: "Free a soul and liberate a 
slave." He asked: "Are they then not the same?" The Prophet (s) replied: "Freeing a 
soul is to do so yourself and liberating a slave is to assist in the act." 

180 "Successful is he who attains to purity." 


He who remembers the name of his Lord and offers prayer" 


This indeed is in the previous scriptures' 


Ibn Abu Hatim reports on the authority of Juwaibir from 'l-Dahhak, from Ibn 7\bbas 
who said: "With regard to the verse: "qad aflaha man zakkaha" 183 (91:9)l heard the 
Messenger of God say: "Successful is the soul that God Almighty purifies." 
Alam Nashrah 

Abu Yala reports, as does Ibn Hibban in his work, 1-Sahih from 'Abu Sa^id that 
the Prophet (s) said: "Gabriel came to me and said: Your Lord says: 'Do you know how I 
raised your praises? I said: "God alone knows." He said: "Whenever I am remembered 
so too will you be along with Me." 

Ahrmad reports from 'Abbas Huraira that the Prophet (s) recited the following 
verse: "yauma'idhin tuhaddithu akhbaraha" 184 (99:4), then said: 'Do you know what 
those past events are?" They said: "God and His Messenger know best." He said: "It will 
testify to the deeds performed on it by every servant, male and female; it will say that 
they did this and that on such and such day." 

Ibn Abu Hatirm reports a tradition with a weak chain from 'Abu 'Urmarma that the 
Prophet (s) said that the word 1-kunud in the verse: "Inna 'l-insan li rabbihl la kanud" 185 
(10:06) refers to one who " eats alone, beats his slave and denies him food." 

183, Successful is the one who purifies (the soul)' 


On that day it will recount its past events." 


"To his Lord man is indeed, verily ungrateful." 


Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Zaid b. Aslam a mursal tradition that the Prophet (s) 
said that the verse: "alhakum 'l-takathur" 186 (102:2) reters to obedience. And the verse: 
"hatta zurtum 'l-maqabir" 187 means: "until death cormes to you." 

Ahrmad reports from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah that the Prophet (s), Abu Bakr and 'Urmar 
ate some ripe dates and drank some water. Thereatter, the Prophet (s) said: "These are 
the bounties about which you shall be interrogated. 

Ibn Abu Hatim reports from Ibn Mas^ud that with regard to the verse: "thumma la 
tus'alunna yaumaldhin 'an '1-na'lm" 188 (10:28) the Prophet (s) said that you will be 
asked about peace and good health. 

Ibn Mardawaih reports from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) explained the verse: 
"innaha 'alaihim mu'sadat" 189 (10:48) to mean that the fire will smother them. 

Ibn Jarlr, and Abu Yala report from Sa^d b. Abu Waqqas who said: "I asked the 
Prophet (s) about the verse: "alladhlna hum 'an salatihim sahun" 190 (107:5) and he said: 
"They are the one's who delay their prayers beyond their appointed times." 

Ahmad and Muslim report from Anas that the Prophet (s) said: "1-Kauthar is a 
river in heaven given to me by my Lord." This tradition is corroborated by several others. 

Ahmad reports from Ibn 'Abbas that when the verse: "idh ja'a nasr Allah wa I- 

186 "Your obsessive greed will divert you." 

187 "Until you finally go to the graves." 

i88..Q n tnat ^y y QU w j|| certa j n |y De as |< ec | about the bounties." 

189 "It will close in upon them." 

190 "Those who are unmindful in their prayers." 


fath" 191 (110:1) the Prophet (s) said: "News of my death has come to me." 

Ibn Jarlr reports from Buraida a tradition that I know only to be marfu\ in which 
he says: "Samad is one who has no belly." 

Ibn Jarlr reports from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said: "Falaq is a concealed 
well in Hell." Ibn Kathlr said that this is a strange tradition whose inclusion in the raf 
category is incorrect. 

Ahrmad and 'l-Tirmidhl report a tradition from A'isha that 1-Nasa'l also reports and 
deems sahih, in which she said: "The Prophet (s) took my hand and showed me the 
moon as it rose and he said: "Take refuge in God from the evil of this, this darkness 
when it descends." 

191 "When the help of God cormes, and victory along with it." 


Ibn Jarlr reports from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said that the verse: "wa 
min sharr ghasiq idha waqab" 192 (113:4) reters to the star that heralds the darkness. Ibn 
Kathir said that it is incorrect to regard this tradition as marfu . 

Abu Yala reports from Anas that the Prophet (s) said:" Satan puts his snout on 
the chest of the son of Adam; if the latter remembers God it remains still, but if he 
becomes unmindful then it swallows his heart. This is what is meant by the 'whispering 

These then, are the traditions that reached me: they include those clearly labeled 
marfu, sahlh, hasan, da'lf, mursal, and mudil. I have not however, depended on false 
and fabricated traditions. 

In this category there are also three rather lengthy marfu traditions that I have 
not quoted. The first of them, reported in the sahlh of Bukhari, is the story of Moses and 
Khidr. It includes a commentary on the 1-kahf chapter. The second, a lengthy tradition 
on civil strife covering almost half a chapter, includes a commentary on the Moses story, 
and on several verses related to it. It is narrated by, among others, 'l-Nasa'i, but the 
scholars (huffaz) including 'l-Mizzi and Ibn Kathir have brought attention to the fact that 
this tradition is, at best, mauquf, that is, it can go no farther back than to Ibn 7\bbas. 
Marfu^ traditions on this topic are few, but they do attribute the tradition to the Prophet 
(s) himself. But Ibn Kathir suggests that Ibn 'Abbas may have acquired this tradition 
from Jewish sources. The third tradition on the blowing of the bugle (on the Last Day) is 
longer still, than the civil strife tradition. It includes descriptions on the conditions of the 
Last Day and in general, explanations on a variety of verses and chapters. Ibn Jarir and 
'l-Baihaqi report this tradition in the section on the Resurrection. Abu Yala quotes the 
same tradition on the authority of Isma^il b. Rafi\ the chief justice of the city of Medina. 
Because of this narrator, scholars have voiced their reservations about this tradition. 
Also, some part of the tradition's text is rejected. Some say that he had taken it from 
several sources, and places, and compiled them into a single text. 

192 "And from the evil of the darkness when it descends." 


As mentioned previously, Ibn Taymiyya and others, have stated that the Prophet 
(s) had in fact explained the entire Cjuran or much thereot, to his Companions. This is 
supported by the tradition narrated by Ahrmad and Ibn Majah that 'Urmar said: "Of the 
last verses revealed was the verse on riba; the Prophet (s) however, was taken away 
betore being able to explain it." This statement suggests that the Prophet (s) was in fact 
in the habit of explaining all that which was revealed, his sudden death however, 
prevented him from explaining this particular verse. If this was not the case then the 
mention of the verse on riba specifically would be meaningless. 

As for 'l-Bazzar's report from A'isha, it is, as Ibn Kathir point out, unacceptable. 
She said: "The Prophet (s) did not interpret anything in the Quran except some verses, 
which he learnt from Gabriel." Ibn Jarir and others interpreted this to refer to specific 
verses that were unknown to him. He asked God for their meanings which God then 
communicated to him through Gabriel. 

And God Almighty has been gracious enough to grant me the ability to complete 
the task of writing this book, which would otherwise have remained unachievable. It is a 
work that is incomparably wonderful, unsurpassable, with an arrangement that excels a 
string of pearls, a work that encompasses such benefits as remained unavailable 
anywhere in the past. I have included therein, helpful principles for understanding the 
revealed scripture, and explained structures that allows noble creatures to reach their 
goals thereby. I have also included perspectives that help its sealed treasures. 

Herein is the essence of reason, the fountainhead of revelation, and only the 
most authentic of all acceptable opinions. I have distilled in it the books of knowledge in 
their variety, gone to countless gardens of exegesis and plucked from them their fruit 
and blossoms, plunged into the oceans of the scriptural sciences and collected its 
jewels and pearls, cut open the treasure-troves, removed its ingots, and polished its 
pieces. And this is why it contains such marvels as do cause necks to lower 
themselves in humility. Nonetheless, I present not this work as being free of error, for 
after all, human beings are undoubtedly prone to error. Furthermore, I live in times in 
which God fills people's hearts with envy, and where censure courses through people 
like blood in the body. 


When God chooses to bring forth some unknown virtue 

He does so through the tongues of the envious 
For if fire burnt not all around it 

The Aloe's fragrance would have remained masked 
These are people overcome by the times and by their vanity, whose love for 
leadership has made them blind and deaf. They turned away from the teachings of the 
shanah and have thus forgotten it. Instead they have become engrossed in philosophy, 
which they study avidly. Some of them long for progress but are so denied by God, they 
seek respect but have no knowledge thereof, and thus finds themselves with neither 
friend nor aide. 
What! Do these rhymes march under flags other than ours 

Even though it is we who control their utterings 
This notwithstanding, you will see that they are nothing, if not haughty, having 
hearts that are filled with disdain against the truth, and making statements that ermerge 
from them all made up. Whenever they are invited to the truth they feign deafness and 
blindness, as if God has not delegated guardians over them to record the words and 
their deeds. The world for them is accursed, the plaything of children and those 
ignorant. The accomplished one for them is reviled, living a life of loss. 

By God! These are indeed, are times when adopting silence is a necessity, and 
so too, is confining one's self to one's own abode, all the while putting into action, the 
knowledge one acquires. This would be so, but for the following sahlh tradition: 
"Whosoever acquires knowledge and conceals it will be bridled with a bridle of fire by 
God." Someone has spoken well in saying that 
Pursue, at all times, virtue 

Expend therein your body and mind 
Seek therewith God's pleasure 

And the pleasure of one who listens, and tries to follow 
Ignore the sayings of the envious 

For envy, surely ends with death 
And I humbly beseech God, Mighty and Glorious is He, that He accept this humble 


effort just as He made possible the completion of this work. And that He make us of the 
early pioneers, of the followers of His Prophet (s), and that He not dash our hopes. He 
is, indeed, Magnanimous: one who places his hopes in Him will not be disappointed, 
and one who abandons everything apart from Him and looks to Him, will not be 

And God, salute and grant salvation to the one after whom no prophet is to 
corme, our master, Muhammad, and to his Companions and his household. And do so, 
for as long as the conscientious retain this practice, and for as long as the unmindful 
remain unmindful of it. 


'1-Muhkam and '1-Mutashabih 

God, Almighty has said: "It is He who sent down to you the Book; some of it comprises 
of the categorical verses (muhkama~t)—these are basic to the Book~and others, the allegorical 
(mutashabihaf).(9:3) Ibn Habib '1-Nisapuri reports three definitions of this topic: 1 

All of the Quran is muhkam, for the Almighty says: ". . .a book whose verses have been 
rendered categorical."(ll:2) 

All of the Qur'an is allegorical, for the Almighty says: ". . An allegorical writ with paired 

The correct opinion, and one which is based on the first mentioned verse, divides the 
Book into muhkam and mutashabih verses. As for the other two verses mentioned above, 
the ihkam (as implied in the term uhkimat) in the first verse refers to the Book being 
precise and tlawless and the tashabuh implied in the second verse, refers to the likeness 
all verses share in being right, truthM, and inimitable. One scholar argues however, that 
the verse in no implies the Qur'an's limitations to these two categories; nothing in the 
Qur'an to this effect, they say???. Besides, such a limitation is untenable in light of the 
Almighty's statement: "(We sent them with miracles and Books) . . . that you may make 
comprehensible to men what was sent down to them ..." ({Al-Zarkashi 1957} Muhkam 
verses in light of this, are not based solely on the plain statement, nor are their any 
definitive interpretations of the mutashabih verses to be expected. 
There are, with regard to the definitions of the muhkam and the mutashabih verses, the 
following contradictory views: 

Muhkam refers to verses whose purport is quite manifest or becomes so through 
interpretation, while mutashabih refers to verses whose knowledge God prefers keeping 
to himself. To the latter category belongs knowledge pertaining to the Last Day, the 
emergence of the Anti-Christ, and the meaning of the cryptic opening verses of the 

^AIso see 'l-Ansan, Zakariyya Fath 1-Rahman bi Kashf ma Yaltabisu fi 1-Qur'an 
(Beirut:1403) Dar 'l-Qur'an 'l-Karim. 78-79 

chapters of the Qur x an. 

Verses whose meaning is clear and open are muhkam and those that are not are 

Muhkam refers to a verse that can be interpreted in but one way, and mutashabih to a 
verse that can be interpreted in more ways than one. 

A muhkam verse, according to Mawardi 2 , can be rationally comprehended whilst the 
mutashabih cannot be. The latter includes, the number of prayer cycles (raka x ah) in the 
daily prayers, or the choice of Ramadan, as opposed to say, Sha^ban. 3 as the month of 

A Muhkam verse can be understood by itself, whereas a mutashabih verse cannot be 
understood except by reference to other verses. 

The meaning of a muhkam verse is embedded in its rc, whereas that of a mutashabih 
verse is known only through further interpretation. 

The wording in the muhkam verses is not repeated elsewhere while those in the 
mutashabih is. 

Muhkam verses deal with obligatory duties, they give glad tidings and admonitions, 
while mutashabih verses deal with narratives and parables. 
In the view of Ibn ^Abbas as quoted by Ibn Abu Hatim 4 through X AH b. Abu Talha 
muhkam refers to verses that are to be believed in and acted upon. Included therein are 
the abrogating verses, verses that make lawful and unlawful, divine ordinances, and 
verses that make acts obligatory. Mutashabih verses, on the other hand, are not acted 
upon though they constitute key elements of belief . Included therein are the abrogated 
verses, (hyperbaton) those revealed earlier and those later, the parables and the oaths. 

3 Sha'ban and Ramadan are respectively, the eighth and ninth month of the 
Islamic lunar, calendar. 

Firyabi 5 quotes Mujahid 6 as saying: "Muhkam verses contain lawful and unlawiul 
injunctions while the remaining verse are mutashabih which corroborate each other. Ibn Abu 
Hatim quotes RabF as saying that muhkam verses contain commands and admonitions. 7 

Ibn Abu Hatim also quotes Ishaq b. Suwaid as sayng that both Yahya b. Ya^mar and 
Abu Fakhita discussed the meaning of the foregoing verse. The latter was of the opinion that it 
referred to the opening verses of the chapters while the former held that (muhkam verses) are 
those that refer to obligatory duties, the imperatives, the proscriptions, and the lawful. 8 

'1-Hakim and others quote Ibn x Abbas as saying that the last three verses of the Cow, 
from the verse "Qul ta^alau. . ."(6:151-153) and the two verses that follow, are all muhkam. 9 Ibn 
Abu Hatim also quotes Ibn ^Abbas through another source as saying that the verse "Therein are 
verses, categorical. . ." refers to "Say, come... "(6:150) and the three verses (sic) which are all 
muhkam. And it refers to the verse ' And your Lord hath decreed that you worship none but 
Him... "(23:17) and the three that follow. 

x Abd b. Humaid quotes Dahhak as saying that muhkam verses are those that have not 
been abrogated, while mutashabih verses are those that have been abrogated. 10 

7 See also,'l-Tabari, vol. 3, pp. 172-173 
^'l-Tabari, Tatsir. vol. 3, p. 173 
9 'I-Hakim, 1-Mustadrak, vol.2, pp.288-317 
I0 'l-Tabari, vol, 3, p.173. 

Ibn Abu Hatim quotes Muqatil b. Hayyan as saying: "The mutashabih verses as reported 
to us are: Alif, Lam, Mm; Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad; andAlif Lam, Mim, Ra. 11 Ibn Abu Hatim also 
quotes Tkrima, Qatada and others to the effect that while muhkam verses are to be acted upon 
mutashabih verses are to be believed in but not acted upon. 12 


Is it at all possible to comprehend the meaning of the mutashabih verses, or is this 
known to God alone? There are two opinions in this regard based on the verse: "...Wa '1- 
rasikhuna fi '1-Tlm".(3:7) A small group of scholars including Mujahid, and, according to one 
view, Ibn ^Abbas himself, believe that the foregoing is an explicative adjunction (ma^uj), whilst 
the word, yaquluna which follows is the circumstantial expression (hal). Most however, are of 
the opinion that ". . .'1-rasikhuna fi '1-Tlm" is the subject, "yaquluna" the predicate, and the 
particle "wa" an inceptive particle. 13 Ibn Mundhir however, reports on the authority of Mujahid 
that Ibn ^Abbas believed he was of those who understood the meaning of the mutashabih as 
referred to in the verse: "wa ma yaTamu ta'wllahu illa Allah; wa '1-rasikhun fi '1-Tlm." 14 

And with regard to the words "and those steeped in knowledge" x Abd b. Humayd quotes 
Mujahid as saying that it refers to those who know the interpretation of the (mutashabih verses) 
and say, "We believe therein." 15 

1:L These letters, known as the \-huruf i-muqatta*a appear as the opening verses of some 
of the chapters of the Qur'an 

12 ^Abd 'l-Razzaq, 1-Tafsir, vol.l, 115 

13 Sees.3,v.7. 

14 ". . .and none knows the interpretation (of the mutashabih) except God and those 
steeped in knowledge." Also see, 'l-Jabarl. 1-Tafsir, vol.3, p.183 

I5 'l-Tabari, vol.3 p.183 

Ibn Abu Hatim quotes Dahhak as saying that 'those steeped in knowledge' know the 
interpretation of the mutashabih, f or if that was not the case then they would not have known the 
abrogating verses from those abrogated, or the lawful verses from the unlawful, or the muhkam 
verses from the mutashabih. In his commentary of the 'l-Sahlh 16 '1-Nawawi explains that this is 
the most accurate view because it is improbable that God would address his servants in a way 
that would make their understanding thereof inaccessible. Ibn '1-Hajib said that this was 

But the ^majority of the Companions—including Ibn ^Abbas according to the most 
authentic reports—along with the Successors (tabVun) and especially those belonging to the Ahl 
i-Sunna 17 subscribe to the opposing view. Ibn '1-Sanf ani says in this regard: "Only the minority 
has inclined to the first view, including 'KUtabi who notwithstanding his affiliations to the Ahl 
1-Sunna, was obviously wrong in this regard. This should come as no surprise, for even horses 
stumble, and even scholars err. 

That the majority's recitation is sound is attested to by x Abd '1-Razzaq's report in his 
exegesis and '1-Hakim's in his work 'l-Mustadrak, on the authority of Ibn ^Abbas, who recited 
the verse in question thus: "and none knows its interpretation except God; and those steeped in 
knowledge simply say: 'We believe therein'. 18 This proves that the letter waw is indeed an 
inceptive particle. As for the report itself, whilst it lacks the probative value needed to establish 
an alternative recitation of the verse, it does, at the least, function as an authentic report from the 
'Expositor of the Qur'an' (i.e. Ibn ^Abbas) himself; this view therefore, should be given priority 
over those of lesser scholars. It is also supported by the verse itself which implies a rebuke of 
those who propound the allegorical, describing them as deviants, and those seeking dissension. 

16 See 

17 This is a complex detinition that usually reters to those who accept the authority 
of hadith traditions and subscribe to the theology of the majority of Muslims. It is more 
popularly used to distinguish between Sunni and Shiite communities. 


Al-Hakim, 1-Mustadrak, vol.2, p.289. 

But those who entrust knowledge (of such verses) to God and yield to Him are praised in the 
verse in the same way that God praises those who believe in the Unseen. 

Al-Farrif reports that the recitation of Ubayy b. ICab also includes the words, 'wa 
yaqulu 1-rasikhuha.' In the work 1-MasaMf, Ibn Abu Dawud narrates through A^mash that Ibn 
Mas x ud's reading included the following: "Wa in ta \vHuhu illa Inda Allah wa 1-rasikhuha fi 1- 
x ilmyaquluha amanna bihf 19 Bukhari and Muslim quote x A'isha as saying: the Prophet (s) once 
recited the verse, "huwa alladhi anzala ^alaika '1-kitab. . . .'ulu albab" 20 and then said, "If you see 
people pursuing the allegorical therein, know that they are the ones that God speaks of, and be 
wary of them." 21 Tabarani, in his work, 1-Kabir quotes Abu Malik '1-Asff ari as saying that he 
heard the Messenger of God (s) say: "I fear not for my community but three things: that as their 
wealth increases so shall their envy, until they quarrel with each other; that when the Book is 
presented to them (as argument) the believer would seek to interpret it (contrary to its obvious 
intent) when in fact only God alone knows its interpretation. . ," 22 

Ibn Mardawaih quotes a tradition of x Amr b. Srnf aib wherein his father quotes his 
grandfather who quotes the Prophet (s) as saying: "The Qur'an did not come down so that parts 
thereof falsify others; thus, practice thereof, that which you know, and believe in that which is 
allegorical." 23 '1-Hakim, on the authority of Ibn Mas^ud quotes the Prophet (s) as saying: "The 
first book was first sent down in but one form and with just one recitation, whereas the Qur'an 
was sent down in seven forms, and with the following seven modes of recital: the reprimand; the 
command; the lawful, the unlawful, the allegorical, and the parable. Thus, consider lawful its 

19 "And indeed, its interpretation is but with God; and those steeped in knowledge say 'we 
believe init."See Ibn Abu Da'ud, 1-MasaM, (Beirut: Dar 'l-Kutub 'l-^llmiyya) n.d., p.69 

20 "He it is who sent down to you the Book.. . .men of wisdom." 

21 'I-Bukhari#4547, 'l-Sahih, #2665 


Al-Tabarani, 1-Mu^jam 1-KabTr, vol.3, p.332 


Ibn Hanbal, Ahmad Musnad vol.2, p.181 

lawfuls, and unlawful, its unlawfuls; fulfil all obligations, and shun all proscriptions; ponder its 
parables, act in accordance with its unambiguities, and believe in its allegories; and always say: 
'We believe therein; it is all from our Lord." 24 '1-Baihaql quotes a similar report from Abu 
Huraira in the section of his book dealing with the branches of faith. 

24 AI-Hakim, 'l-Mustadrak, vol.2, p.,181 

Ibn Jarir by way of a marfu^ tradition quotes Ibn ^Abbas as saying: "The Qur'an was sent 
down in four forms: the lawful and the unlawful, which none can plead ignorance of; 
commentaries about matters known only to the Arabs; commentaries on matters known only to 
scholars; and allegories known to God alone. All others besides God who make claims to such 
knowledge are indeed liars." 25 And by way of a mauquf report he quotes Ibn ^Abbas as saying 
much the same. 26 

Ibn Abu Hatim on the authority of 'KAufT quotes Ibn ^Abbas as saying: "We believe in 
the muhkam verses and yield to them without question, whilst we believe in the mutashabih 
verses without yielding to them~it is all from God. ^isha is reported by him as having said: "It 
was their deep understanding that prompted them to believe in the allegorical even without 
comprehension." He also quotes Abu '1-Sha x tha' and Abu Nuhaik as saying: "You recite these 
verses without pause, when in fact it does contain a pause." 

Al-Darimi in his Musnad quotes Sulaiman b. '1-Yasar as saying that a man named sabigh 
on arriving in Medina began delving into the allegories of the Qur'an. "Umar had a date frond 
prepared, summoned him, and then beat him until his head was all bloody. In another report he 
beat him with a palm frond stripped of its leaves, leaving welts on his back. He left him to 
recover and thereafter beat him again, twice. When summoned once more the man said: "Kill me 
if you like, but do so humanely!" "Umar then let him return to his territory but not before 
informing Abu Musa '1-Ash'ari that no Muslim be allowed to sit in the man's company. 

Al-Darimi quotes "Umar b. '1-Khattab as saying: "In time people will engage you in 
controversies about the allegories of the Qur'an; hold them to the sunna, for those with 
knowledge about the sunna are most knowledgeable about the Book of God." These statements 
and hadith traditions indicate that the meaning of the allegorical verses is known to God alone, 
and delving therein is reprehensible. More on this will follow soon. 

Al-Taibi said: Muhkam refers to that section of the Qur'an whose meaning is clear and 
mutashabih to its opposite. Proof for this is to be found in the fact that a word having a meaning 

25 AI-Tabarl, vol.l, p.57 

26 AI-Tabari, vol.l, p.57 

will be in but one of two cases: firstly, where more than one meaning exists and secondly, where 
only one meaning exists. The latter case is called nass. In the former case the original meaning 
of the word may supercede its ancillary meaning, in which case it would be termed zahir, or both 
meanings may equally apply, in which case it will be termed mujmal, or they may not apply at 
all, in which case it will be termed mu 'awwal. Any meaning that prevaricates between the nass 
and the zahir is called muhkam and between the mujmal and the mu ^awwal is called mutashabih. 
This delineation is supported by the fact that the Almighty placed the muhkam in contrast to the 

The scholars have said: "It is incumbent to explain the muhkam in light of its opposite, as 
alluded to by the very structure of the verse which dif ferentiates even while bringing together 
two ideas. So when God says ". . .in it are categorical verses; they constitute the essence of the 
Book, whilst there are others which are allegorical." (2:7) He puts together, and at the same 
time, differentiates, all in one in one verse. And, He explains each part of the verse by saying ". . 
.but those in whose hearts is doubt. . . and those steeped in knowledge say 'We believe therein. . 
." whereas He could well have said "As for those with fortitude in their hearts, they follow the 
categorical verses". Instead, He hwokes the term rusukh in the verse: "and those steeped in 
knowledge (al-rasikhun fi i-^ilm), for it is a quality acquired only after much introspection and 
deep inquiry, and uttered only after the heart is set upon righteousness and the feet is firmly 
planted in knowledge. The prayers of those steeped in knowledge, that is: ' Our Lord! Let not 
our hearts stray. . .' testifies to the fact that the words ' i-rasikhun fi aVilm' are a counterpoint to 
the words 'fa amma alladhina fi aulubihim zaigh'. It also points to the fact that the pause at the 
words illa Allah is complete, and that knowledge of some kinds of the allegorical is known to 
God, Almighty alone. It also points to the fact that the words 'fa iMharuhum' in the foregoing 
tradition, applies to those who seek this kind of knowledge. 

Some scholars have said that the mind is obliged to believe in the verity of the allegorical 
verses much like the body is obliged to perform the ritual prayers. This is like a sage who 
compiles a book which in places is deliberately cryptic so that the student is humbled before his 
teacher. Or like a king who takes some sign to be used to identify his confidantes. It has been 
said that the mind, the most noble part of the body, if not challenged, would let the scholar 

wallow in ignorance about the limitations of his knowledge and cause him to become conceited. 
The task of unraveling the allegorical however, helps him maintain a sense of humility and 
subservience. The allegorical verses, after all, are places where the mind humbles itself to its 
Creator, surrendering and acknowledging its imperfection. The culminating words of the 
Almighty's statement: ". . .but only persons of understanding truly heed', rebukes the perverted 
ones and praises those steeped in knowledge by implying that one who is unmindful, who 
refuses admonition, and fails to confront his base desires is not of the understanding ones. It is 
for this reason that those steeped in knowledge say: "O Lord! Let not our hearts go astray. . ." 
They thus submit to their Creator awaiting the advent of mystic knowledge, after seeking refuge 
in Him from the caprices of the self. 

'1-Khattabi said: "Allegories are of two kinds: One, whose meaning becomes manifest if 
examined in light of the categorical, and two, whose actual meaning remains forever 
unattainable. This latter is what the perverted ones delve into, without ever arriving at its 
essence. They then begin to harbor doubts about such verses and are thus misled. 

Ibn '1-Hassar has said: "God has divided the verses of the Qur'an into the categorical and 
the allegorical, and declared that the former is the mother of the Book, which is why the latter 
must be understood in reference to it. Also, the categorical is pivotal to unraveling His intent in 
the duties He's placed upon them, to affirming His messengers, and to fulfilling His orders and 
eschewing His proscriptions-this then makes the categorical the mother of the Book. And 
thereafter, He speaks of those whose hearts are beguiled, those who delve into the allegorical 
verses. This means that one without faith in the categorical and with doubt in his heart gains 
pleasure in the pursuit of the allegorical. The Divine Legislator's intent thereby was to provide 
an incremental understanding of the categorical verses and to give priority to the essential verses 
so that one acquires conviction and deep knowledge, and thus, remains unperturbed by 
ambiguity. And by those with hearts beguiled is meant those bent on unraveling the obscure 
verses, and on understanding the allegorical verses before the categorical; this contradicts all that 
is logical, normal and prescribed. They are like the polytheists who demand from their prophets 
signs other than those presented, presuming, out of ignorance, that this would bring them faith; 
but they know not that faith comes only with the leave of God." 


In his work Mufradat 'l-Qur 'an Raghib (Israhani) said: "When looked at in conjunction 
with each other verses are found to be of 3 kinds: absolutely allegorical, absolutely categorical, 
and allegorical in some regards and categorical in others. As for the allegorical verses they are in 
total of 3 kinds: allegorical in respect of a single word, allegorical in respect of the statement as a 
whole, and allegorical in both respects. The first form, in turn, is of two kinds: firstly, that which 
applies to single words that are either rare like "' 1-ab" and "yaziffun", or have shared meanings, 
such as ' 1-yadcT and 1-yamlh'. Secondly, that which applies to statements, which are of 3 kinds, 
and which comprise of that which is allegorical: 

i- because of its brevity, as in "wa in khiftum an la tuqsfju fi '1-yatama fa ankihu ma Jaba lakum. . 
," 27 (3:4) 

ii- because of its redundancy, as in "laisa ka mithlihl shayy" 28 (11:42) But saying "There is none 
(mithluhu) like Him" instead would have made it more explicit to the listener. 
iii-because of the arrangement of the verse, as in "anzala x ala ^abdihi '1-kitab wa lam yaf al lahu 
Iwajan; qayyiman" 29 (18:2) which implies: 'He sent down a straightiorward Book and made it 
not crooked." 

The allegorical in respect of meaning refers to verses dealing with the attributes of God 
and descriptions about the Last Day, for these fall outside our scope of understanding. We are 
unable to visualize that which is outside our sensory perception. 

The allegorical in word and meaning is of five kinds: 
l-From the standpoint of quantity, as in general and specific verses such as the verse: "fa uqtulu 
'1-mushrikin" 30 (9:5) 

27 "And if you fear that you will not deal fairly with the orphans then marry, of those that 
please you. . ." 

28 "there is none like unto Him" 

29 "He revealed to His servant a Book which He had not made crooked." 

30 „ 

Killthe pagans!" 


2-From the standpoint of manner, as in verses that impose duties that are either compulsory or 
optional such as in the verse: "fa ankihu ma Jaba lakum" 31 (4:3) 

3-From the standpoint of time, as in the abrogating and the abrogated verses such as "ittaqa 
Allah ma ista^tum" 32 (3:102) 

31 "Marry of the women that please you. . ." 

32 "Be Fearful of God to the fullest extent." 


4-From the standpoint of place and the circumstances surrounding it, as in "wa laisa '1-birr bi an 

ta'tu '1-buyuta min zuhuriha" 33 (2:189) and "innama '1-nasi'u ziyadatun fi 'l-kufr" 34 (9:37) Those 

unaware of the traditions of pre-Islamic Arabia would find difficulty understanding the 

foregoing verses. 

5-From the standpoint of preconditions that validate or invalidate an act, as in the preconditions 

of daily prayers and marriage. 

He said: On examining the foregoing collection it becomes abundantly clear that all that the 

exegetes have said with regard fall completely within this collection. 

Furthermore, the allegorical verses when taken together, fall into three categories: 
1-That which can never be known, such as the Last Hour, the appearance of the monsters ( i- 
dabba; these would appear prior to the last Day) etc. 

2-That which human beings can know, such as words that are unusual or rules that are 

3-That which falls in between, and is known to those steeped in knowledge, but obscured from 
those besides them. This is alluded to in the prophetic statement to Ibn ^Abbas: "Oh! God! Grant 
him the understanding of the faith and knowledge of interpreting (the Qur'an). 

This then tells us that pausing between the verses, "And none but God knows the 
interpretation of it" and "And those steeped in knowledge" or reading them as one, are equally 
valid: Each of these alternatives has an interpretation as explained above. 

Imam Fakhr '1-DIn said: "Replacing the primary meaning of a word with a secondary 
meaning requires independent proof that may be either literal or rational. The literal, because of 
its ambiguity, is not considered irrefutable evidence in matters of faith. For evidence to be 
irrefutable 10 of the well known probabilities must not be present; that they are in any given 
context not present is at best a probability itself. Now, because that which is contingent upon a 
probability is itself a probability, evidence that is probable-as is the aforementioned~is thus not 
acceptable in matters of faith. As for rational proof it serves only to shift the word away from its 

33 "Righteousness is not that you approach the House from its rear" 
34 "Intercalation is one further example of their disbelief. . ." 


literal connotation in cases where such a connotation is inconceivable. But as for proving, 
through rational evidence, that a particular meaning is the only correct one, that is impossible 
through rational evidence for it requires that one figurative interpretation or explanation be 
prioritized over another. To do so, one will have to resort to literal evidence which, as mentioned 
heretofore, is an inadequate way of prioritizing, for it furnishes probable proof at best, and 
probable proof cannot be depended on for fundamental issues requiring definitive evidence. This 
is why meticulous scholars, both past and present, have ruled, based on irrefutable evidence, that 
shifting a word away from the primary meaning to a secondary one cannot be corroborated even 
by way of irrefutable evidence. They thus suggest that protracted inquiry into isolating specific 
meanings be avoided. 

Verses that deal with the attributes of God fall in the category of the allegorical. They 
include the following examples: 
1-"'1-Rahman ^ala 'Karsh istawa" 35 (20:5) 
2-"Kullu shayTn halikun illa wajhahu" 36 (28:88) 
3-"wa yabqa wajhu rabbika" 37 (55:27) 
4-"wa li tusna^a ^ala ^ainl " 38 (20:39) 

5- "yad Allah fauqa aydihim" 39 (48:10) 


6- "wa '1-samawat majwiyyat bi yaminih" (39:67) 

35 "The Beneficent, who is firmly seated on the Throne 
36 "Everything will be destroyed except His Countenance." 
37 "And the Countenance of your Lord will remain" 

38 .so that he might be iormed before My Eyes." 

39 "the Hand of God is above their hand." 

40 "and the Heavens, rolled up, are in His right hand." 


Ibn '1-Labban has dedicated a special work to this topic. 

Most scholars including the pious ancestors (salaj) and the hadith folk insist that we 
believe in such verses, and that we def er their meaning and their real intent to God Almighty, 
without attempting to rationalize them; we should nonetheless, free Him of the literal application 
of their meanings. 

Abu '1-Qasim Al-Lalikjfi in his work Al-Sunnah quotes Umm Salama through Qurra b. 
Khalid, through '1-Hasan, through his mother, as saying: the "how" in the verse: "'1-Rahman x ala 
'Karsh istawa" (20:5) is beyond rational comprehension, though the actual act of being seated is 
not unknown. However, affirming the act of sitting is a part of faith and knowingly denying it is 
an act of heresy." 41 He also reports, that on being asked the meaning of the verse "'1-Rahman ^ala 
'Karsh istawa"(20:5) Rabfa b. x Abd '1-Rahman replied: "The act of sitting (istiwa) is not 
unknown; the "how" however, is beyond comprehension.; the Epistle is from God, the 
Messenger had to declare it openly, and we are to affirm it" He also quotes Malik in similar vein 
saying: "the "how" is beyond comprehension even though "sitting" is known. Belief therein is 
compulsory, whilst questioning it is heresy. And Baihaqi through a marfu x tradition quotes him 
as saying: "He is as He describes Himself, and one should not ask: How! How! 42 And '1-Lalika x i 
quotes Muhammad b. '1-Hasan as saying: "Scholars from east to west agree that the attributes of 
God must be accepted without comment and without rationalizing or allegorizing them. 

And Tirmidhi, in his commentary of the tradition that speaks of seeing the face of God, 
said: "The doctrine of the preeminent scholars such as Sufyan '1-Thauri, Malik, Ibn '1-Mubarak, 
Ibn ^Uyayna, and WakF is that 'We report these traditions as is, we believe therein without 
inquiring how, and we neither rationalize about them, nor doubt them.' Some members of the 
Ahl 'l-Sunna-following the doctrine of the successors ( i-khalaf)-assert that we ought to interpret 
such verses in a way that befits the Majesty of the Almighty. Imam '1-Haramain ('1-Juwaini) who 
initially subscribed to this doctrine, and then recanted, asserted in the work i-Risala i- 
Nizamiyya the following: "That which we sanction as the correct path, and declare as God's 

41 3 397 

42 2 150-151 


prescribed way is the path of the forerunners ( i-salaj) who eschewed delving into its details." 

Ibn '1-salah has said: "This indeed, is the path trodden by the early community and its 
leaders, the one chosen by the leading jurists, and espoused by the scholars and the luminaries of 
the science of hadith. And of the theologians, not a single companions of ours has snubbed or 
denied this path. But Ibn Burhan, preferred interpreting the allegories, saying that "The conflict 
between these two groups hinges around whether parts of the Qur'an ought to be unknown to us, 
or, should they be known to those steeped in knowledge? Ibn Daqlq '1-Td however, taking the 
middle ground in his response, said that "Any interpretation that closely tracks the linguistic 
norms of the Arabs should not be rejected. If however, it is far removed therefrom then we ought 
suspend judgement, and accept its meaning at face value, with the proviso that ultimately God is 
above all such qualities. Thus in the verse: "Ya hasrata ^ala ma farrajtu fi janb Allah" 43 (39:56) 
We interpret the words 'janb Allah' by considering the right of God and what behooves Him. 

I will now mention hereunder interpretations of the foregoing verses that conform 
to the standards of the Ahl '1-Sunna. 

A-Sitting (istiwa'): In sum, I have found seven explanations to this: 

i)Istawa means to be firmly placed: This is Muqatil and Kalbi's report from Ibn ^Abbas. Even 
if this is correct it still requires further explanation because it implies divine substantiation. 
ii) Istawa means to become dominant. This interpretation is unacceptable for two reasons: firstly, 
given that God has always been dominant over creation, over heaven and hell and all its 
denizens, what possible benefit is there in singling out the Throne? And secondly, dominance 
comes only after power and victory are achieved, whereas God Almighty is above such 
encounters. '1-Lalikif i reports in the work i-Sunna that Ibn '1-A>abi on being asked the meaning 
of istawa, said: "He is seated on His Throne as He instructed. But he was told instead: "O, Abu 
x Abd Allah! Actually it means to take possession of (istawla)\" He replied: "Be quiet! One never 
says istawla' except in cases where there is opposition; thus, when one party vanquishes the 
other the word istawla is used." 
iii)According to Abu ^Ubaid istawa means to ascend. This too, is unacceptable because it does 

43 „ 

Woe unto me! How unmindtul have I been of my proximity to God" 


not befit the majesty of God. 

iv) According to IsmiTil b. Darir in his commentary the verse actually implies that the 

Beneficent ascends and that the Throne is His resting place. This view is unacceptable for two 

reasons: firstly, because it changes the universally accepted preposition ilato the verb ^ala; as a 

verb it would have been written with the letter alif , as in the verse: " x ala fi '1-ard" 44 (28:4). 

Secondly, the word ^arsh is then read in the nominative form, which no expert on recitation has 


v)The verse is said to end at the word ^arsh, with a new one beginning thus: "istawa lahu. . ." 

This too is rejected because it effaces the verse's structure and purpose. I maintain that the word 

lahu does not appear at all in the verse: "thumma istawa 'ala '1-ard" 

vi) Istawa as mentioned by Asff ari, Farra', some rhetoricians, and as endorsed by IsmĕTil b. '1- 

Darir is that He embarked on, and undertook to build the Throne, as mentioned in the verse: 

"Thumma istawa ila '1-sama' wa hiya dukhan" 45 (41:ll) The fact that the verb in the verse is made 

transitive by the preposition ^ala renders this possibility remote; for the foregoing interpretation 

to apply the word ila ought to have been used instead. This is the case in the verse: "thumma 

istawa ila 'l-sama' 46 (41:ll) 

vii) Ibn '1-Labban has said: "The istiwa 'attributed to the Almighty refers to balance, and to Him 

exercising even handedness, as in the verse: "qa'iman bi 'l-qist" 47 (3:18) Evenhandedness is His 

istiwa' and it refers to Him bestowing, in accordance with His great wisdom, due measure, to all 

that He created. 

44 ". . .he was insolent fa/cz)on earth' 

45 "Then He turned to the Heavens while it was still smoke." 

46 "Then He turned to the Heavens. . ." 

47 ". . .Controlling His creation with evenhanded-ness." 


B-The word nafs, as in the verse: "talamu ma fi nafsi wa la alamu ma fi nafika" 48 (5:116) Given 
that the word nafs resembles the word ghaib inasmuch as they are both concealed from view it 
has been suggested that the word is being used here to show inference. Then there is the verse: 

"wa yuhadhdhirukum Allah nafsahu" 49 ( )where the word nafs is said to refer to His 

punishment; or as a substitute for the pronoun iyyahu. "The word nafs" Suhaili has said "is an 
idiom f or actual existence and no more, which is why it is the stem of the word nafasa (precious) 
and is inherent in the phrase 1-shay 'l-nafis, a priceless object. And this is also why the word 
applies fittingly to God Almighty. The scholars have provided several interpretations for this 
word, Ibn '1-Labban explains, including the notion that nafs refers to the essence. "Even though 
this conforms to linguistic norms," he says, "making the verb therein transitive with the 
preposition fi which suggests time and place, is inconceivable in the case of the Almighty." 
Others have interpreted the word to mean the Unseen, which would then read as: 'I know not 
what is in your Unseen or among your secrets' "This view", he says, "in light of the words that 
follow: 'You are indeed, All knowing about the Unseen."(3:29), is quite appropriate. 
3-The word wajh (face)which is interpreted to mean essence. But Ibn Labban says that in the 
following verses it refers to sincere intent.: "yuriduna wajhahu"(6:52) 50 "innama nuf imukum li 
wajh Allah" 51 (76:9); and "illa ibtigha'a wajhi rabbihi 'l-'ala" 52 (92:20) Another scholar said that 
in the verse, "fa thamma wajh Allah" 53 (2:115) it refers to the direction towards which He has 
instructed us to face. 

48,1 You know full well what is in my mind, while I know not what is in Your Mind." 

49 ". . And God warns you about His Being" 

50 "They seek His Face." 

51 "We feed you purely for the Face of God." 

52 ". . .Except as seeking the Face of his Lord, Most High." 

53 ". . .there exists the Face of God" 


4-The word x czz'n, according to some scholars and in contradiction to others, is used literally when 
referring to vision or perception, and allegorically when referring to the human organ. The real 
allegory is in naming the human organ thus. "The ascription of the word azn to the Almighty" 
Ibn '1-Labban has said "is in reference to His recognizable signs whereby He perceives the 
Believers and they perceive Him. The Almighty has said that in the : "Fa lamma ja'athum 
ayatuna mubsiratan" 54 (29:13) the word mubsira is used allegorically and attributed specifically 
to the word signs, to show that this indeed is the implication of the word ^ain when attributed to 
God. The same is the case in the verse: "qad ja'akum basa'iru min rabbikum fa man absara fa 
linafsihi; wa man amiya fa x alaiha" 55 (6:104) And in the verse: "wa isbir li hukmi rabbika fa 
innaka bi a x yunina" 56 (52:48) it is through our signs that you perceive Us and We perceive you." 

That the word a yun means sign in the foregoing case, he said, is clearly supported by the 
following verse wherein He uses a sign ('1-Qur'an) to explain the requirement of forbearance 
(sabr) "inna nahnu nazzalna "alaika 'l-qur'an tanzilan; fa isbir li hukm rabbika wa la tujL minhum 
athiman au katuran" 57 (76:23) Similarly, in the verse about Noah's ark: "tajri bi 
a x yunina" 58 (54:14) the word in question arefers to "our signs", as is clear from the verse: "wa 
qala irkabu flha bism Allah majreha wa mursaha" 59 (ll:41) Also, in the verse: "Wa li tusna^a x ala 


. . And when Our signs came to them, in plain view (mubsira). . ." 

55 "Unto you have come signs (basalr) from your Lord; whosoever then percieves 
(absara) does so to his advantage, and whosoever is blinded shall be overcome by it" 

56 Another example is the verse: "Now, await the order of your Lord; for surely you are in 
Our sight " 

57 "We indeed, have sent to you the Qur'an, a revelation; Now therefore, remain 
forbearing of the command of your Lord." 

58 ". . that floats in Our sight (a^yunina). . ." 

59 "He said: All aboard! For its sailing and its berthing occur only with the Name of God" 


x aini" 60 (20:39) the words 'My signs as revealed to your mother', are meant, as is clear irom the 
verse that follows: "an ardTihi fa idha khifti ^alaihi fa alqihi fi 'l-yamm" 61 (28:7) Another scholar 
maintains that this word actually refers to the Almighty's protective gaze. 

60 ". . .so that you may be tutored before My Eyes" 

61 "(And We revealed to the mother of Moses, saying) Suckle him! And when you 
become fearful for his safety cast him into the river. . ." 


5-The word yadd (hand) which in the following verses is said to imply power: "li ma khalaqtu bi 
yadayya" 62 (38:75); "yadd Allah fauqa aidlhim" 63 (48:10); "min ma ^amilat aidina" 64 (38:71); "wa 
anna 'l-fad'l bi yadda Allah 65 (57:29) Suhaili has said: "The hand, like vision, is in essence a trope 
used to ascribe an attribute to a subject, which is why God Almighty, in the verse: "'ull '1-aidi wa 
'1-absar" 66 (38:45), commends strength when coupled with vision, but not with limbs. This is 
because praise is given to qualities and not just to body parts.??? Which is why AsrTari said that 
the word yadd is an attribute used by the sacred law. and that which is implied by this attribute is 
that it is close to the meaning of power (qudra), except that the latter is general while the former 
is specific. This is like the word love (mahabba) when used to imply want (irada) and desire 
(mashi'a). Thus, there is in the word yadd a necessary conierment of honor." 

Baghawi also said: "Properly speaking, where the dual form of the word yadd is used in 
reference to God, two attributes of His essence are intended and not any allusion to power, 
ability and bounty. Mujahid said: "The word yadd in this context is akin to the usage of the word 
wajh in the verse: "wa yabqa wajhu rabbika. . ." 67 (55:27) which shows emphasis and a link 
between God and Adam. But Baghawi regards this view as weak, for if this were the case then 
"Iblis would have been well within his rights to say: "If (he is worthy of a prostration) simply 
because Thou had created him, then (I too am worthy) because it is you who created me." The 
same is true for divine power and bounty: Adam in these cases also enjoys no special privilege 
over Iblis." 

62 ". . .that which I created with both My hands" 
63 "The Hand of God is above their hands" 
64 ". . .that which our hands have made" 
65 "and that the bounty is in God's Hands" 
66 "men with strength (aydl) and vision (absar)" 
67 "And all that remains is the face of your Lord" 


Why were two hands needed to create Adam! Ibn '1-Labban explains: 'God alone knows 
what He intended thereby, but a close scrutiny of His Scripture suggests to me that the word 
yadain is a metaphor for His power radiating through two attributes: the radiance of power 
which is related to His attribute of bounty, and its radiance that is related to His justice. {His 
ability to create perfectly and with perfect proportion.} He thus shows how special and 
privileged Adam was in being created by virtue of these two attributes. He also said "It is the 
right hand that possesses the power to excel as is mentioned in the verse: "wa '1-samawat 
ma|wiyyat bi yamlnihi" 68 (39:68) 

6-The word saq as in the verse: "yauma yukshafu x an saqin" 69 (68:42) which refers to the 
enormity of the event, or to its tumultuousness. This is similar to the expression Qamat 1-harb 
^alasaa" (War broke out with severity!) Hakim reports in his Mustadrak on the authority of 
Tkrima that Ibn ^Abbas, on being asked about this verse, said: If some part of the Qur'an is 
unclear to you then seek its explanation in poetry for it is the repository of the Arabic language. 
Consider the words of the poet: 
Patience Tnaq! This is enduring evil 

your people have forced me to smite necks 

War has broken out between us, with great severity. 
Ibn ^Abbas explained that this referred to a day of hardship and severity. 
7-The word janb as in the words of the Almighty: " x ala ma farra'd'tu fi janb Allah" 70 (39:56) 
which means: "I was remiss in obedience to Him and to His perquisites." This is because one can 
be remiss in obedience but not in gaining proximity. ??? 
8-The attribute qurb which in the verses: "fa inni qarib" 71 (2:186), and "wa nahnu aqrabu ilaihi 

68 "the skies are rolled up in His right hand." 

69 "On the day when the calf (saq) is laid bare" 


. . .that I was unmindful of the nearness (janb) of God" 

71 ". . .1 am indeed, close." 


min habl '1-warid" 72 (50:16) is a trope for God's knowledge. 


We are closer to him than his jugular vein" 


9-The attribute signifying loftiness, which in the verses: "wa huwa 'l-qahir fauqa 

x ibadihi" 73 (6:18), and "yakhaMn rabbahum min fauqihim" 74 (16:50) is said to mean loftiness, but 

in no particular direction. When Pharaoh said: "wa inna fauqahum qahimn" 75 (7:127) he no doubt 

had not intended thereby, actual physical height. 

8-The attribute majT' (coming) in the following verses: "wa ja'a rabbuka" 76 (89:22) and: "au 

ya'tiya rabbuka" 77 (6:158) refers to the coming of His command, for the angel comes only by His 

command and authority. This, it seems, is what He stresses in the verse: "wa hum bi 'amrihi 

ya^malun" 78 (21:27) The same applies to the verse: "fa idhhab anta wa rabbuka fa qatila" 79 (5:24) 

which means, 'go with your Lord, and with His power, and may you be successM!' 

9-The attribute hubb (love) as in the verses: "yuhibbuhum wa yuhibbunahu" 80 (5;5) and "fa 

ittabi^uni yuhbibkum Allah" 81 (3:31) 

10-The attribute ghadb (anger) as in the verse: "wa ghadlm Allah x alaihim" 82 (48:6) 

11-The attribute rida (approval) as in the verse: "rad'iya Allah x anhum" 83 (5:119) 

73 "He is the Omnipotent; above His servants" 

74 "They fear their Lord; high above them." 

75 "we are in power over them" 

76 "And your Lord will come" 

77 "Or if your Lord comes" 

78 "And they act according to His commands" 
79 "Go! Thou and thy Lord, and fight" 

80 "He loves them and they love Him" 

81 "so, follow me and God will love you" 
82 "And God was angry with them" 


83 „ 

God approves of them" 


12-The attribute ^ajab (amazement) as in the verse: "bal ^ajibtu . ," 84 (37:12) and the verse: "wa 

in ta^jab fa ^ajabun qauluhum" 85 (13:5) 

13-The attribute rahma (mercy) as appears in numerous verses. 

Scholars have said: "Every attribute that is inconceivable when applied to God Almighty 
must be interpreted according to its obvious connotation. Imam Fakhr '1-Din has said: "All 
emotional characteristics such as, mercy, joy, happiness, anger, modesty, deceit, and mockery 
have a beginning and a climax. Take anger, for example: it begins with the gushing of blood into 
the heart, and climaxes in the formation of an intention to inflict harm on the object of the anger. 
This word, in ref erence to God, would apply, not to the first part thereof, which is the gushing of 
blood into the heart, but to the intent to inflict harm. The same is true for modesty: it begins with 
contrition and climaxes in the abandonment of an act. Thus the word haya', with respect to God, 
may be applied to the abandonment of an act, not to a sense of contrition in the soul." 

Hussain b. '1-Fadl said: "The word ^ajab (amazement) when used for God refers to the 
negation of a thing and its impossibility." When asked about the verse: "wa in ta^jab fa ^ajabun 
qauluhum"(13:15) Junaid (Baghdadi) has said that God as such, is not amazed by anything, and 
so, in this particular case, He says to His messenger "I concur with what you say." 

84 "Nay, but I was amazed! (when recited, ajibtu) 

85 „ 

And if you thought that was something, then even more amazing is what they say.' 


13-The word Inda (with) as in the verse: "^inda rabbika" 86 (7:206) and "wa man x indahu" 87 (5:52) 
Both these verses imply strength, proximity, and loftiness. Other verses include: "wa huwa 
ma^akum ainama kuntum" 88 (57:4); that is, He is with you through His knowledge. And the verse: 
"wa huwa Allah fi '1-samawat wa fi '1-ard; yalamu sirrakum" 89 (6:3) Baihaqi said: "The correct 
interpretation of this verse, like that of the verse: "wa huwa alladhi fi '1-sama'i ilahun wa fi '1-ard' 
ilahun" 90 (43:83) is that He is worshiped in the Heavens and on earth." 91 Asff ari has said that 
"the adverb (of place) is related to the word "He knows", that is, He is knowledgeable about 
things in Heaven and on earth." Another such verse: "sa nafrughu lakum ayyuha '1- 
thaqalan" 92 (55:31) means 'We shall resolve to give you your due measure.' 

Ibn '1-Labban has said that the verse "inna bajsha rabbika la shadid" 93 (85:130) is not 
allegorical because it is explained by the verse that follows: "innahu huwa yubdi'u wa yuld" 94 ; 
and it draws attention to His grip being a trope for His involvement in all the affairs of His 
creatures and particularly in their creation and resurrection." 

86 "with your Lord" 
87 "from Him. . ." 

88 "He is with you wherever you may be." 

89 "He is God, in the Heavens and in the Earth; and He knows your secrets." 

90 "He it is who is God in the Heavens and on earth." 
91 Baihaqi, 'l-Asma' wa 'l-Sifat vol.2 p.174 

92 "We shall dispose of you, O! you dependants." 

93 "Lo! The grip of your Lord is tight!" 
94 "He it is who initiates and repeats" 


The opening verses of the chapters are also allegorical, and here too, the preferred view is 
that these mysteries are known only to God Almighty. Ibn '1-Mundhir and others report that on 
being asked the meaning of the opening verses of the chapters, Sha^bl replied: "Every book has a 
mystery, and the mystery of this Qur'an are the opening verses of the chapters." 95 

Others have also probed its meaning: Ibn Abu Hatim and others quote Ibn ^Abbas on the 
authority of Abu '1-Duha as saying: "Alif Lam Mim" : means 'I am God, most Knowledgeable", 
and: "Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad" means "I am God, the One who distinguishes"; and: "Alif, Lam , Ra' 
" means: "I am God, the One who sees." And he quotes Ibn ^Abbas on the authority of Sald b. 
Jubair as saying: "Alif Lam Mlm, Ha Mim, and Nun, are truncated names. And he quotes Ibn 
^Abbas on the authority of Tkrima as saying: "Alif Lam Mim", Ha MTm and Nun" are the 
disjointed letters of the word '1-Rahman. 

Abu '1-Shaikh quotes Muhammad b. Ka^b '1-Quradhli as saying: "Alif Lam Ra" are parts 
of the word '1-Rahman. He also quotes him as saying "Alif Lam Mim Sad" represent the words 
Allah, '1-Rahman, and '1-samad respectively. And he quotes Dahhak as saying "Alif Lam Mim 
sad" means 'I am God, the Truthful'; others say that it means the Creator. And "Alif Lam Ra'" is 
said to mean: 'I am God, the Omniscient, the Loftiest.' Both these views are reported by Kirmani 
in his work 'l-Gharalb. 

Hakim and others quote Ibn ^Abbas on the authority of Sald b. Jubair as saying in the 
verse "Kaf Ha Ya x Ain Sad" the kaf symbolizes the Noble, the ha' the Guide, the ya' the Wise, 
and x ain the Omniscient, and the sad the Truthful. And Hakim also quotes Ibn Abbas through 
another chain on the authority of Sa'Id as saying "Kaf Ha Ya x Ain Sad" symbolize the Self 
Sufficient, the Guide, the Trustworthy, and Mighty, and the TruthM. And Ibn Abu Hatim quotes 
Ibn ^Abbas by way of Suddi, through Abu Malik, and Abu Salih; and through Murra he quotes 
Ibn Mas^ud, and members of the Companions as saying "Kaf Ha Ya x Ain Sad" symbolize 
truncated letters: the Kaf represents King, the Ha, God, the ya and the x ain, the Mighty and the 
sad, the Creator. He also reports a similar commentary from Muhammad b. Ka x b except that the 
Sad represented the Eternal. 

95 Baghawi, vol.l, p.44 


And through a different source SaTd b. Mansur and Ibn Mardawaih quote Ibn ^Abbas on 
the authority of Sald as saying: "Kaf Ha Ya ^Ain Sad" stand for the Greatest, the Guide, the 
Trustworthy, the Mightiest, and the Most Truthful. And through Kalbi Ibn Mardawaih quotes Ibn 
^Abbas on the authority of Abu salih as saying that in the verse"Kaf Ha Ya x Ain Sad" the kaf 
symbolizes the Sufficient, the Ha the Guide, the x Ain, the All Knowing, and the Sad, the 
TruthM. He also reports from Yusuf b. Ajiyyah that on being asked about the verse: "Kaf Ha Ya 
x Ain Sad" Kalbi quotes Abu Salih, who quotes Umm Hani, who quotes the Prophet (s) as saying 
that these letters represent the Self Sufficient, the Guide, the Trustworthy, the Omniscient ,and 
the Truthful. 

And with regard to the verse "Kaf Ha Ya x Ain Sad" Tkrima as quoted by Ibn Abu Hatim 
said it means: "I am the Greatest, the Guide, the Loftiest, the Trustworthy, and the Truthful". 

And the letter Ja in the verse: Taha according to Muhammad b. Ka^ab symbolizes the 
"Lofty One". And also according to him, in the verse "Ta Sln Mlm" the ta symbolizes the "Lofty 
One" the sih the Most Holy, and the mm\, the Beneficent. He also quotes SaTd b. Jubair as 
saying that ha'in the verse "Ha Mim" is derived from rahman (the Beneficent), and the mfm from 
rahrm (the Merciful). He also quotes Muhammd b. Ka x b who said that the ha and the mM in the 
verse "Ha Mim x Ain Sin Qaf" are derived from rahman, the ^ain from 'l-^alim (the Omniscient), 
the slh from i-Quddus (the Most Holy), and the qaf from \-qah\r (the Victorious). He also 
quotes Mujahid as saying that the opening verses of the chapters are all truncated letters of the 
alphabet. He also quotes Salim b. x Abd Allah as saying that verses such as "Alif Lam Mim, Ha 
Mim, and Nun" are the truncated letters of God's name. And he quotes Suddi as saying: "the 
opening verses of the chapters are the Names of the Lord, Sublime is His Splendor, that are 
separated in the Qur'an. . Kirmani says with regard to the verse: "Qaf" that it is a letter from 
God's names the Omnipotent and the All Powerful. Others have said that the verse "Nun" is the 
key to the names of the Almighty, the Light, and the Helper. 

All of the foregoing views are based on one idea: that these letters represent truncated 
words, each letter being derived from one of the names of the Almighty. Confining one's self to a 
few letters only is common to the Arabic language. Thus one finds a poet saying: 

I said to her stop! She replied, I have! (Qaf) 


Another said: 

Good is reciprocated with even more good and evil with evil (fa) 
I have no desire for evil except if you do (ta) 

The letters fa and ta are truncated forms of the words fa sharr and tasha' 
Another said: 

He addressed them: Will you not put on the bridle, will you not mount (ta) 
Together, they all said: Come Along! Let's mount (fa) 
the words ta and fa are intended to imply tarkabun and fa irkabu 

This is the view preferred by Zajjaj, who said: "Arabs utter a single letter that points to 
the word whence it is derived. Ibn Ajiyya reports others as saying that these opening letters refer 
to the Greatest Name ( i-ism i-a x zam) except that we know not f or certain whether it is so 
derived. Ibn Jarir, by way of an authentic tradition also quotes Ibn Mas^ud to the effect that these 
letters refer to the Greatest name. And with regard to the verse "Alif Lam Mim" Ibn Abu Hatim 
quotes '1-Rabr b. Anas on the authority of Suddi as saying that is of God's Greatest Names. 

Ibn Jarir and others quote Ibn ^Abbas on the authority of x Ali b. Abu Talhah as saying : 
"Verses such as "Alif Lam Mim", \a Sln Mlm", "and "Sad" are Names of God that He uses as 
oaths. That these letters together, are the Names of God, may be considered the third 
explanation, though it is also possible that it is but a part of the first or the second explanation. 
Ibn ^Ajiyya and others believe it is the former. And this is supported by a report in Ibn Majah 's 
section on exegesis in which NafL Quotes Abu Nu^aim '1-Qari', who quotes Fatima b. x Ali b. 
Abu Talib who heard x Ali b. Abu Talib say "O! "Kaf Ha Ya x Ain Sad" Forgive me!. Another is 
the report by Ibn Abu Hatim that RabL b, Anas said that the verse "Kaf Ha Ya x Ain Sad" means: 
"O! Ye who protects, and from whom there is no protection! He also quotes Ashhab as saying: "I 
asked Malik b. Anas, 'Does it behoove one to be named Ya Sin? He said 'I think not, for in 
saying "Ya Sin! I swear by the Qur'an, the Most Wise! God is saying: 'Here is My name. Thus 
have I been named.' 

x Abd '1-Razzaq, on the authority of Qatada reports a view stating that much like i-Furqan 
and i-Dhikr this too is a name for the Qur'an. And Ibn Abu Hatim quotes a similar view, thus: 
"All the truncated letters appearing in the Qur'an are from the names of the Qur'an.". Another 


view is that they are the names of the chapters. Thus is reported by Mawardi and others on the 
authoirty of Zaid b. Aslam . The author of '1-Kashshaf ascribes this view to the majority of 
scholars. It has also been said that like words such as bal (nay!) and la bal (No! But!) which 
appear at the beginning of poems these words too are opening statements of the chapters . Ibn 
Jarir reports through Thauri from Ibn Abu Najih that Mujahid said: "Alif, Lam, Mim; Ha, Mim; 
Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad; Sad" and other such letters are opening statements God uses to begin the 
Qur'an". Abu '1-Shaikh reports through Ibn Juraij that Mujahid had said: "Alif, Lam, Mim; and 
Alif, Lam, Mim, Ra " are introductory statements whereby God opens the Qur'an. I asked: "Did 
he not say that they were the names of God?" He said: "No!" One view is that these are the letters 
that are assigned a numerical value and they point to the age of this Community. 

Ibn Ishaq quotes Kalbi, who quotes Abu Salih, who quotes Ibn ^Abbas as saying that 
Jabir b. x Abd Allah b. Riyab said: "Abu Yasir b. Akhtab in the company of Jews passed by the 
Prophet (s) while he was reciting the opening verses of the chapter '1-Baqara: "Alif, Lam, Mim! 
dhalika '1-kitab la raiba flhi" 96 (2: 1) He then approached his brother Huyayy b. '1-Akhtab who 
was with a group of the Jews, and said: I have just listened to Muhammad recite from among the 
verses revealed to him, the verse: "Alif, Lam, Mim! This is the Book. . ." He said: "Did you hear 
that! He replied: Yes!" Huyayy then walked along with these people to the Prophet (s) and said 
"Do you recall reciting from that which was revealed to you, the verse: "Alif, Lam, Mim! This is 
the Book. . ." He said: "Indeed!" They Said: "God has sent down several prophets but we know 
of none besides yourself who has been told the period of his rule, and the extent to which his 
community will last. In your case it is as follows: "the Alif represents one, the Lam, thirty, and 
the Mim, forty; together they add up to seventy one years! Should we enter the Faith of a prophet 
whose reign will last no longer than seventy one years!" He then asked: "O! Muhammad! Are 
there other letters besides these?" He said: "Yes! ""Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad". He said: "This is 
longer and heavier: the alif, equals one, the lam, thirty, the mim, f orty, and the sad, sixty; 
together, they add up to one hundred and thirty years. Do you have others besides these?" he 
asked. He said "Yes! "Alif, Lam, Ra" He said: "This is longer and heavier: the alif, equals one, 

96 This is the Book in which there is no doubt. . ." 


the lam, thirty, and the ra, two hundred. Together, they add up to two hundred and thirty one. Do 
you have others besides these?" he asked. He said "Yes! "Alif, Lam, Mim, Ra" He said: "This is 
longer and heavier: the alif, equals one, the lam, thirty, the mim, f orty, and the ra, two hundred. 
Together, they add up to two hundred and seventy one. No doubt," he went on to say, "this is 
quite confusing to us; we know not whether your reign will be long or short." He then said to his 
group: "Lets leave him!" and turning to his brother Abu Yasir and those with him, he said: "Who 
knows! Perhaps these together, have been granted to Muhammad: seventy one, one hundred and 
thirty one, two hundred and thirty one, and two hundred and seventy one~together, this comes 
to seven hundred and four years. The truth about him is confusing to us!" It is for this reason that 
some scholars have opined that the following verse was revealed in reference to them: "He it is 
who sent down the Book to you; some of it comprises of the categorical verses {ayat muAkamat)- 
-these are basic to the Book— and others, the allegorical (mutashabihat). 1 Whilst Ibn Jarlr quotes 
this tradition through this chain, Ibn '1-Mundhir does so by way of Ibn Juraij. (mudalan) 

With regard to the verse "Alif, Lam, Mim" Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abu Hatim quote Abu '1- 
^Aliyya as saying: "These three are of the twenty nine commonly used letters; each one of them 
is a key to the Almighty's names, each one is indicative of His Blessings, and His trials, each 
points to the fate of nations and their demise. The alif is a key to His name , Allah, the lam a key 
to His name Lapf, and the mfm a key to His name Majid. The alif represents the Blessings of 
God, the \am the Benevolence of God, and the mim the Majesty of God. The alif equals one year, 
the \am thirty, and the mim forty years. Khuwayyi has said: "From the verse: Alif, Lam, Mim! 
Rome has sufffered a defeat." (30:2) some scholars had deduced that Jerusalem would fall to the 
Muslims in the year 583, and so it came to pass. Suhaili said: "It would seem that the sum of all 
the opening letters less those that are repeated indicates the longevity of this community. 

Ibn Hajar has said: "This is baseless and should be disregarded given Ibn Abbas's 
warning against divination through the numerical values of letters, and the implication that this is 
tantamount to witchcraft. And this is not f ar f etched given the absence of any Islamic 
corroboration thereto. In his travelogs Qadi Abu Bakr b. 'KArabi states: "The science of the 
truncated opening letters of the chapters is baseless" I have collected some twenty opinions or 
more on this topic; in none of them is anything definitive said about them, nor are any of them 


specially appealing to the intellect. 

But I maintain that if these letters had no collective relevance to the Arabs they would 
have been among the first to object to the Prophet (s). He recited "Ha Mim" also known as 
Fussilat, to them along with verses such as "Sad", and they voiced no objections; instead, theirs 
was an unequivocal acknowledgement of the purity and the eloquence of the Qur'an, 
notwithstanding their ardent desire to see him falter and stumble. This points to the fact that this 
was definitely a practice common to them." 

Then there is the view of Ibn Atiyya, which goes against the 'opening letters' argument, 
and suggests that, as in the use of the vocative call, these letters too, serve to capture attention. 
Abu ^Ubaida however, states that: "Alif Lam Mlm" are opening statements." "The view that these 
letters are meant to capture attention is a sound one" says Khuwayyi "because the Qur'an is 
mighty speech and its benefits are indeed, enormous.. These words therefore, must fall on 
attentive ears. It is thus, altogether plausible that God was aware that the Prophet (s) was 
sometimes distracted by worldly matters and so ordered Gabriel to proclaim on his descent: " Alif 
Lam Mim", "Alif Lam Ra", and "Ha Mim". This way, he was able to heed Gabriel's voice, turn 
towards him, and give him his full attention. Popular words like ala, and amma, that are 
generally used to draw attention were not used because they belong to the genre of words 
common among people. The Qur'an however, is speech like no other; it is thus appropriate that it 
should draw attention by coining words that are peculiar, and that carry a ring that is 

It has also been suggested that because the Arabs were wont to mock the Qur'an on 
hearing its words God revealed this unique arrangement to capture their attention, give them 
more reason to listen to whatever else followed, and, ultimately to bring about a softening of 
their hearts. Some scholars regard the latter a separate, independent, opinion, but the converse 
seems more likely because of the similarities this view shares with some of the foregoing 

It has been said that these letters are mentioned to point to the fact that the Qur'an 
comprises of the letters a, b. t. tha. . . some of which have appeared separately. They also appear 
together, as a single compilation, to show the natives of the language of the Qur'an that it 


comprised of no more than the letters known to them. They also serve to reproach them, and 
prove to them their inability to replicate that which uses letters common to them, letters which 
they use to fashion their speech. 

Another view is that these letters, of which fourteen, that is half of the total number, are 
mentioned, are meant to highlight the letters that go towards the construction of speech. Of each 
kind one half has been mentioned. Thus, of the lower throat letters the ha', the x ain, and the ha' 
are mentioned, of the upper throat letters, the qaf, and the kaf , of the lip letters the mlm, of the 
whispered letters, the sln, the ha', the kaf, the sad, and the ha'; of the shadida, the hamza, the \,a', 
the qaf, and the kaf, of the mujbiqa the \a', and the sad; of the majhura letters the hamza, the 
mlm, the lam, x ain, the ra', the |a', the qaf, the ya', and the nun; of the munfatfha, the hamza, the 
mlm, the ra, the kaf, the ha', the x ain, the sln, the ha', the qaf, the ya', and the nun; of the 
mustaliya the qaf, the sad, and the \a'; of the munkhafida the hamza, the lam, the mam, the ra, 
the kaf, the ha, the ya, the ^ain, the sln, the ha, the nun; and of the shaking letters the qaf, and the 

ta. 97 

Also significant is the fact that the Almighty mentioned these letters, singly, in twos, 
threes, fours, and fives, because words are fashioned in this way; they are made up of no more 
than five however. 

Another view is that these letters were preordained for the People of the Book as a sign to 
them that He will send to Muhammad a Book whose opening letters will be truncated. 

This is what I have been able to unravel about the truncated letters; with regard to some 
of them however, the following views have been presented. Thus, as has been mentioned already 
in the declinable words, Ta Ha, and Ya Sin mean O! man, O! Muhammad, or O! Human Being! 
They may also be two names of the Prophet (s). Kirmani, in his work 'l-Gharalb, asserts that 
this view is strengthened by the recitation of the n sound of the letter sin with a fatha, and the 
reading in one place Al Yasin. Another view is that Ta Ha is an imperative form of the verb 
meaning: O! Earth! incline! Or be placid! with the ha serving as the object, as a stop, or as a 

97 These terms, which belong to the rules of recitation or tajwid, refer to the 
manner in which a letter is to be pronounced. 


substitute for the hamza. Ibn Abu Hatim reports through Sald b. Jubair from Ibn Abbas that Ta 
Ha is tantamount to one saying, 'do!'. Kirmani also mentions in his work 'l-Ghara lb that Ta Ha 
means O! Full Moon! This is because the letter Ja therein has a value of nine and the ha, a value 
of five; together they add up to fourteen, an allusion to when the moon is full. 

Another view is that the letters Ya Sin mean O! Master of the Messengers, and that the 
letter Sad! means: God has spoken the truth, or 'I swear in the name of the Eternal, the Creator, 
and the Truthful One'. Or if the sad is regarded as the imperative form of '1-musadat then it 
would mean 'O! Muhammad! Compare your actions to the Qur'an'. Kirmani also quotes Hussain 
as having said that it means 'Peruse the events of the Qur'an', that is, ponder over them'. He 
quotes Sufyan b. Husain as saying that Hassan used to recite the verse in question as "Compare 
the Qur'an". Kirmani also reports that sad is the name of a sea upon which is the Throne of God, 
or that it is a sea that resurrects the dead, or it means, 'Muhammad entraps the hearts of the 

He also reports that the letters "Alif Lam Mim Sad" are said to represent the verse "Have 
We not caused your chest to dilate"(94:l). And the verse "Ha Mim refers to the Prophet (s), or to 
all that has been created. Ha Mim x Ain Sin Qaf", as reported by x Abd '1-Razzaq on the authority 
of Mujahid, is a reference to Qaf, a mountain, or that "Qaf" is a mountain surrounded by land. It 
is also suggested that it means "I swear by the strength of Muhammad's heart, or that it 
represents the letter qaf , and the ensuing discourse in the verse 'the matter has been 
decided'(12:41). Another, is that it means "Stand! And set forth, O! Muhammad! And discharge 
the mandate, and act, as I have instructed. Both these views are quoted by Kirmani. 

It is said that the letter nun represents the fish: Tabarani quotes a marfu * tradition in 
which Ibn ^Abbas said: "the first things created by God are the Pen and the Fish. He said: 
"Write!" It said: "What should I write?" He said: "All that is decreed to occur until the Last Day." 
He then recited: "Nun! By the Pen. . ." (68:1) The letter nun thus, represents the fish. and the qaf 
the pen. Kirmani also reports from Jahiz that the letter qaf represents the pen. Another view 
reported by Ibn Jarir from among the mursal traditions of Ibn Qurra is that the qaf represents the 
Divine Tablet. One report from Hasan and Qatada states that it is the ink pot, or the ink itself, as 
reported by Ibn Qutaiba in his work 1-Gharib. Another view reported by Ibn "Asakir, in work i- 


Mubhamat, is that it is of the names of the Prophet (s). In the 1-Muhtasab of Ibn '1-Jinni Ibn 
^Abbas is reported to have recited the verse "Ha Mim x Ain Sin Qaf" by omitting the letter x ain, 
whilst saying that the letter slh represents all sects that will emerge and the qaf, every group. 
This, says Ibn '1-Jinni, is evidence that the opening verses act as pauses to divide the chapters. If 
they were the names of God it would not have been permissible to alter the verse. Proper nouns 
must be pronounced as is, without any distortions, or else they are not considered proper names. 
In his work i-Gharaib, Kirmani asserts that the interrogative statement that appears after the 
verse "Alif Lam Mim! Do people believe. . " (29:2) points to the fact that the truncated letters in 
all their appearances, are separate from the verses that follow: 

Some scholars have asked if muhkam verses hold distinction over the mutashabih in 
some significant way. If one answers in the negative then this contradicts the unanimous opinion 
of the community (ijmiT ), they claim, and if one answers in the affirmative then one stands 
accused of going against one's own principle, that the word of God is uniform in its entirety and 
has been revealed with wisdom! 

In response x Abd Allah '1-Bakrabazi says that the two are alike in some regards and 
different in others: both require that before being used as proof texts the Divine intent must be 
isolated; also, an improper intent must not be given preference. They differ in that muhkam 
verses, linguistically speaking, allow but one interpretation; thus, whosoever listens to them will 
be able to deduce their intent with immediate effect. But in order to steer the mutashabih verses 
in the right direction deliberation and reflection are required. Also, the muhkam verses are the 
essence of the Qur'an, and they therefore enjoy priority. Furthermore, these verses are known in 
all their details whilst the mutashabih are known only in broad terms. 

"What possible benefit accrues in including in a work meant to be a guide and an 
explication material that is allegorical?" some ask. One perceives many benefits in symbolic 
narratives that promise knowledge. They serve to encourage scholars to reflect upon the deeper 
meanings of the Qur'an, and to unravel its complexities, because doing so is an act of supreme 
piety. It also allows multiple levels of comprehending the Qur'an, which is not the case with the 
muhkam verses alone. Without this, all opinions would have equal weight, and scholars would 


enjoy no special significance. 

There are benefits even where nothing definitive is known. For instance, such verses may 
serve as tests to the faith of the servants of God, and their willingness to submit to God, to defer 
to His omniscience. And, as in the case of abrogated verses, they worship Him by engaging in 
the recitation of such verses, even though acting upon such verses or basing arguments on them 
is impermissible. All of this shows that this is indeed the Word of God and that it is He who 
rendered those in whose language these verses were revealed incapable of aspiring to their 
meaning; this, despite their eloquence and intelligence. 

Imam Fakhr '1-Din Razi said: "The Qur'an is a target for apostates because it contains 
allegorical verses. They say: "You claim that till the end of time people are bound to follow the 
Qur'an, but we find that members of every sect align themselves to it in support of their 
indMdual sects. To support their sect the Jabariyya hwoke verses such as: "wa jValna ^ala 
qulubihim akinnatan an yafqahuhu wa fl adhanihim waqran" 98 (6:25). The Qadariyya, denigrate 
the latter as infidels through verses such as: "wa qalu qulubuna fl akinnatin min ma tad^una ilaihi 
wa fl adhanina waqran""(41:5), and the verse: "wa qalu qulubuna ghulf" 100 (2:88) which they 
claim that God, by way of rebuke, had revealed about this sect. Those who claim that God can 
never be seen quote the verse: "la tudrikuhu 'l-absar" 101 (6:103). Those who claim that He 
occupies space quote the verse, "yakharuna rabbahum min fauqihim" 102 (16:50) and the verse, 
"'1-rahman x ala 'Karsh istawa" 103 (20:5). And those who deny this view quote the verse, "laisa ka 

98 "We have placed veils on their hearts and deafness in their ears. . ." 

""They say: 'Our hearts are protected from that which you invite towards, and our ears 
are deaf" 

100 "And they say our hearts are covered." 

101 "Vision cannot comprehend Him" 

102 "They fear their Lord, above them." 

1 (T3 

"The Beneficent One who is firmly entrenched on His Throne." 


mithlihi shay'un" 104 (42:11) Further, verses that support one's own doctrine are labeled muhkam 
and those that do not are labeled mutashabih; this entire effort to prioritize some verses over 
others is predicated on tenuous choices and flimsy arguments. Does it behoove the Wise One to 
put in place a Book such as this, one that is supposed to be a point of reference for all faiths, 
through the end of time! 

In response, he said: "Scholars have pointed to several benefits of the mutashabih verses, 
not least, that in unraveling its intent much energy will have to be expended; this, in and of itself, 
garners added spiritual rewards. Also, if entirely muhkam, the Qur'an would have endorsed but 
one view and condemned all others. Those who subscribed to the latter views would then have 
been alienated from it and disinclined to seek benefit therefrom. Having both the muhkam and 
the mutashabih encourages members of the various sects to seek endorsements for their views 
therein. They are consequently inclined to delve deeply into its meaning; and when they do so 
the muhkam verses become a commentary for the mutashabih verses; their falsehood is thus 
invalidated and they are able to reach the truth. Also, by embracing the mutashabih the Qur'an 
provides additional benefits, such as a need to know a variety of topics. These include a need to 
know how to interpret and prioritize verses, to know about syntax and etymology, about rhetoric, 
and about jurisprudence; without these verses knowledge of such topics would remain irrelevant. 

Finally, the Qur'an comprises of material that addresses both the elite and the laity. Given 
that those in the latter category are generally inclined to shun discussions that unravel ultimate 
realities, it may be that arguments designed to prove the incorporeality of the Divine would 
instead lead them to denying the very existence of God. It was thus fitting that words that speak 
frankly about realities be mixed with others that in some way appeal to the common way of 
thinking. The former, which is expressed in broad terms is known as the mutashabihat, whilst the 
latter which unravels the truth in explicit terms is known as the muhkamat. 


Nothing resembles Him. 


Al-Ijaz and Al-Itnab 

(Brevity and Prolixity) 

Know that this is indeed, the greatest form of rhetoric (balagha), so much so that the 
author 1 of the work Sirr al-Fasaha quotes scholars as saying that all rhetoric is Ijaz and itnab. 
The author of the work 'l-Kashshaf had this to say: "Just as it is important for an articulate person 
to know how to be brief and to transpose, so too, is it required of him, where necessary, that he 
be prolix, and informative. Jahiz once recited: 

They rebuff, at times with lengthy sermons, and at others with ponderous gazes, 

the dread of the watchful. 

Scholars disagree about whether some middle point known as musawat exists between 
brevity and prolixity. Or is it that musawat is just a subcategory of brevity? Sakaki 2 and others 
are of the f ormer opinion but they maintain that this is neither praiseworthy nor blameworthy. In 
their view musawat is the idiom of the laity, those that is, who remain less than articulate. And 
they define brevity as the art of conveying meaning with fewer words than normal, and prolixity, 
with more words than normal. Ibn al-Athir 3 and others are of the latter view, and they say: 
"brevity is to convey meaning with an economy of words while prolixity is to use more words 
than are required." 

: Abu Muhammad, Abd Allah b. Muhammad al-Khafaji (d. 466h.) 
2 A1-Sakaki, Abu Ya*qub, Yusuf, b. Abu Bakr b. ^Ali al-Khawarizmi (d.626h.) 
3 Ibn Al-Athir, Diya al-Din, Muhammad b. Muhammad b. ^Abd al-Wahid 

Qazwini 4 said: "to be precise it must be said that the acceptable mode of communicating 
intent is where justice is done to the original idea. This occurs by usage of words equal to the 
original intent, or less than yet sufficient to convey such intent, or more than but for some 
specific purpose. The first case is termed musawat, the second, ijaz, and the third, itnab. In the 
foregoing definition the word waf is used to preclude any breach in meaning, and the words li 
faida to preclude superfluousness and interpolation. In his view therefore, linkage is evidence of 
the existence of musawat; it is also an acceptable category. 

Why it may be asked, is there no mention of equivalence, in the definition? Is it because 
you are inclined to deny it, or to not accept it, or is there some other reason? I would respond by 
saying it is for these two reasons and one more, which is that equivalence is hardly ever present, 
especially in the Qur'an. An example of this has been provided in the work al-Talkhis 5 by way of 
the verse: "Wa la yahlq '1-makr '1-sayyi' illa bi ahlihi" 6 (35:43) and in the work al-Idah by way of 
the verse: "Wa idha ra'aita alladhina takhuduna fi ayatina" 7 (6:68). In response it has been said 
that in the second verse the object of the adjective alladhiha is omitted. And in the first verse 
there is prolixity in the form of the word 'l-sayy, because the word 'scheme' (makr) is itself used 
only in an evil sense. This may also be considered a case of brevity by omission if the 
exceptional clause is regarded as ghair mufarrigh or non-exhaustive. In this case the omitted 
words will be bi ahad, and brevity would be achieved by truncating the exceptional clause. The 
statement is couched as incentive to prevent the persecution of all people, and to warn against all 
that cause this. And in implying grave harm to its perpetrator, the statement takes the form of a 
And this would be a case of brevity by , that is, the statement "only those" (illa bi ahlihi) refers 
to each one of them. This discussion has been stylized as a tab ^iyya metaphor that appears in the 
form of a tamthiliyya metaphor, because the word yahig, which means encompasses, is used only 
to refer to physical bodies. 

4 A1-Qazwini, Jalal al-Din, Muhammad b. "Abd al-Rahman 

5 A1-Sakaki, Jalal al-Din Muhammad b. "Abd al-Rahman b. "Umar al-Qazwini, Talkhis al-Miftah The autor 
is also known as Khatib Dimashq (d.739h.) 

6 "And the evil scheme encompasses only those who perpetrate it 
7 "And when you observe those who dabble in our verses. . . " 

Note that the words ijaz and ikhtisar, as noted in the work i-Miftah, and endorsed by '1- 
Tibl, have the same meaning. Others however, contend that the word ikhtisar as opposed to ijaz, 
is restricted to the omission of sentences. But the shaikh, Baha '1-Din considers this as being 
without merit. With regard to itnab, the word is said to have the same meaning as ishab; the truth 
however, as al-Tanukhi and others have pointed out, is that ishab is simply verbosity with or 
without justitication. 

Ijaz has two forms: qasr and hadhf. The first form uses words sparingly. The shaikh, 
Baha '1-DIn said: "If a brief statement is part of one that is lengthier it is termed T}az hadhfor 
brevity by omission, but if it conveys a meaning that is greater than the sum of its words then it 
is termed T}az qasr or brevity by abridgment. Some scholars assert that T}az qasr is to augment 
meaning by reducing words, while others state that it is when the ratio of meaning to words is 
fewer than normal. Its elegance lies in it indicating skillful eloquence. This is why the Prophet 
(s) said: 'I have been granted all round eloquence." 

Al-TIbi in the work '1-Tibyan 8 had this to say: "Brevity free of omission falls into three 

1- Brevity by Abridgment {T}az 'l-Qasr)\ it is to restrict the usage of the number of words in a 
statement to its meaning. This is the case in the verse: Innahu min Sulaiman. . .wa i'tunl 
muslimin" 9 (27:30-31) Together, these words represent the heading, the contents and its 
justification. One eloquent description of the verse states: "Its words constitute the mold for its 
meaning." I maintain that this is the view of those who regard musawat as being in the category 
of T}az. 

2- Brevity by Implication(^az al-Taqdir): This is to imply a meaning that exceeds the sum of the 
spoken words. This category is also known as i-TadyTq or contraction, and it has been so 
described by Badr '1-DIn b. Malik in the work i-Misbah because the number of words together, 
are fewer than the sum total of its meaning. This is so in the verse: "Fa man ja'ahu mau x izat min 

8 Sharaf al-Din Muhammad b. ^Abd Allah al-Tibi (d.773h.), al-Tibyan fi al-Bayan 

9 "Lo! It is from Solomon. . .come to me submissively." 

rabbihi fa lahu ma salaf" 10 (2:275). This means: "His errors I forgive". This is thus an 
admonishment for him and not against him. Another example is the verse: "Hudan li 'l-muttaqln" 
n (2:2); that is, for those who after being misguided and in manifest error move towards 
consciousness (taqwa). 

10 , "For him unto whom admonishment comes from his Lord, and he then desists, his past 
is overlooked." 

11 "a guidance ior the cognizant. 

3- Comprehensive Brevity( i-I)az i-Jamiy. This is where one word connotes several meanings as 
in the verse: Inna Allah ya'mur bi 'Kadl wa 'l-ihsan" 12 (16:90) The word "adl is actually the 
straight path, the middle way between over indulgence and austerity that is attested to in all 
compulsory acts pertaining to dogma, ethics, and worship. Ihsan is the exercise of sincerity in 
compulsory acts of worship, as indicated in the hadith "(ihsan) is to worship God as if you 
behold Him. . ." or worship Him alone as far as your reasons go, stand in humility, and make all 
the necessary preparations for prayer. As for the verse that follows: "wa Ita' dhi 'l-qurba" 13 which 
is a voluntary giving that supercedes the obligatory duty. All of the above stem from the 
imperative forms in the verse. As for the prohibitive form: the word i-fahsha 'alludes to sexual 
desire, i-munkar to the immoderation that results from the effects of anger, or to all acts 
prohibited by the law, and i-baghyi alludes to a haughtiness that is based on delusion. 

I maintain that this is certainly why Ibn Mas^ud as reported in the work i-Mustadrak had 
the following to say: "There is in the Qur'an no verse more comprehensive in describing virtue 
and vice than this one." Baihaqi reports in the section on the branches of faith that Hasan was 
once reading this verse when he stopped and said: "God has incorporated all virtue and all vice 
in a single verse. By God! He has not omitted to include a single aspect pertaining to justice and 
virtue; nor has He omitted to include immoral and unjust acts of disobedience to God." And he 
reports, on the authority of Ibn Abu Shihab, a tradition similar in meaning to one reported by 
Bukhari and Muslim, which states: "I have been dispatched with an all encompassing speech." 
He was told that this all encompassing speech (jawam " i-kilam) referred to God having 
compressed several rules which were previously spelled out into no more than a rule or two. 

12 "Lo! God enjoins justice Cadl) and virtue (ihsan). . ." 
13 ". . .and giving to the close relatives. . ." 

Another example is the verse: "Khudh 'Kafwa" 14 (2:199) which encapsulates righteous 
behavior. This is because in applying clemency to matters of rights forbearance and lenience is 
required, whilst, when inviting to the Faith compassion and kindness are required. It is also 
required that one refrain from injuring others, forgive, and avoid all illegal practices when 
enjoining the good, and that one exercise restraint, kindness and love when turning away from 

Another splendid example of Ijaz is the chapter: "Qul huwa Allah ahad" 15 (112:1) for it is 
the ultimate elimination of anthropomorphism. And as Baha' '1-DTn b. Shaddad has made clear in 
a separate work, it serves as a rebuttal to the assertions of over forty different sects. 

And in the verse: "Akhraja minha ma'aha wa mar^aha" 16 (79:31) these two terms allude to 
all foods and provisions He provides for mankind from the earth itself : these include pasture, 
trees, seeds, fruit, the stalk and the leaves of grain, firewood, clothing, fire, and salt~the latter 
two because fire comes from wood and salt from water. 

And in the verse: "La yusadda^una ^anha wa la yunzafun" 17 (56:19) He has brought 
together all the debilities of wine, including hangovers, irrationality, loss of material possessions 
and the wastage of drinks. And in the verse: "Wa qlla ya ard 'iblal ma'aki" 18 (11:44) God orders 
and forbids, informs and addresses, praises and names, destroys and preserves, gladdens and 
saddens, and relates stories containing a metaphor, rhetoric, brevity, prolixity, and such 
eloquence that describing them would exhaust the ink of pens. Separate works describing the 
eloquence of this verse have been compiled, and Kirmani, for instance, states in his work i- 
^Ajalb that critics concur wholeheartedly with the claim that matching this verse is beyond 
human capacity, They reached this conclusion after painstakingly scrutinizing all languages, 
both Arab and non-Arab. They found nothing comparable to the loftiness of its words, the beauty 

14 "Hold fast to clemency. . . " 

15 "Say! He is God, the One. . ." 

16 "He extracts therehom water and its pasture." 

17 "they suffer no headaches because of it nor do they become delusional." 

18 « 

Then it was said: "O! Earth! Now swallow up your water. . ." 

of its syntax, and the excellence of its diction in portraying images without impairment and 
with an economy of words. 

In the verse: "Ya ayyuha '1-naml 'udhkhulu masakinakum" 19 (27:18) eleven forms of 
speech are included: these conceal, notify, order, narrate, warn, specify, generalize, allude to, 
and absolve They are as follows: interjection, as in "ya"'; metonomy, as in "ayy"; annotation, as 
in "ha"; appellation, as '"1-naml"; the imperative form, as in "udkhulu"; narrative, as in 
"masakinakum"; warning, as in "la yahtimannakum"; specification, as in "sulaiman"; 
generalization, as in "junuduhu"; intimation, as in "wa hum"; and excuse, as in "la yasff urun". 
These, together, effectuate five rights: the right of God, the right of His Messenger, the (ant's) 
right, the right of its citizens, and the right of Solomon's army. 

The verse: "Ya Bani Adam khudu zinatukum ^inda kull musjid" 20 (7:31) encompasses the 
basis of speech, including the interjection, the generalization, the specification, the imperative, 
the lawful, the unlawful, and the communication. Some have said that in just one part of the 
following verse God has collected all wisdom: 'Kulu wa ishrabu wa la tusrifu" 21 (7:31) And the 
verse: "Wa auhaina ila umm Musa an ardilhi" 22 (7:31) as Ibn 'KArabi explains, is "Of the 
greatest of the verses of the Qur'an in eloquence; this because it contains two each of the 
imperative, the prohibitive, the communicative, and the annunciative forms. 

With regard to the verse: "Fa isda^ bima tumar" 23 (15:94) Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" has said that it 
means: make known all that has been revealed to you, and convey that which you have been 
ordered to, even if this happens to be so difficult on some souls that they shatter. The similarity 
between the word sd x a (to split asunder) and the act of proclaiming is in the effect the latter has 
on the heart; this is reflected on the face as dejection and relief and is etched thereon in the form 
of rejection or delight, just as it is reflected on a cracked mirror. Consider the sublimity of this 

19 "O! Colony of ants! Go into your dwellings. . ." 

20 "O! Progeny of Adam! Take with you your adornments to all places of worship. . ." 

21 "Eat, and drink, but not in excess. . ." 

22 "And We inspired the mother of Moses thus: 'Suckle him. . ." 

23 "Proclaim (lit. split asunder) all that you have been ordered to. . ." 

metaphor, the promndity of its brevity and the multiplicity of meanings it encompasses! One 
bedouin is known to have fallen into prostration on hearing this verse, and saying: "I prostrate to 
the eloquence of this speech!" 

And one scholar has said: "And by using these two words ( tashtahi and taladhd) in the 
following statement of the Almighty: " Wa fiha ma tashtahihi 'l-anfus wa taladhdh '1- 
a x yun" 24 (43:71) He has encompassed the description of that which would have exhausted the 
abilities of all humans combined. 

Then there is the verse: "Wa lakum fi 'l-qisas hayat" 25 (2:179) which despite its economy 
of words, has a multiplicity of meanings. In knowing that the taking of life would result in the 
loss of his own man would be deterred from murder. Thus in the killing that is part of the laws of 
talion many other killings are prevented, and this gives life to them as a whole. The foregoing 
verse when compared to Arab society's most concise statement on this topic, 'l-qatl anafa li 1- 
qatl or "one killing precludes another", was found to be superior in at least twenty or more 
different ways. Ibn '1-Athir however disavows all such comparisons saying "There can be no 
comparison between the words of God and the words of creation— this is no more than the 
perceptions of scholars torturing their minds. These Twenty are: 

I. The number of letters in the verse in question is fewer than in the statement of the Arabs: 
the number of letters in the former is ten while in the latter it is fourteen 

II. Negating the act of killing does not necessitate the conferring of life. The verse however, 
affirms this idea which after all is the purpose of the act itself . 

III. Using the word hayat without the definite article serves to amplify its significance and to 
underscore the idea that the law of talion provides eternal life. This word is used thus in 
the verse: "wa latajidannahum ahras '1-nas x ala hayat" 26 (2:96) The same is not true for 
the proverb for the letter la therein points to a genus. This is why the word hayat therein 
is explained to mean survival. 

24,1 And therein is all that the heart desires and all that the eye delights in." 
25,1 And for you, in the laws of talion, there is life itself." 

26 „ 

You will certainly find them to be most covetous of an unending life" 

IV. The verse, as opposed to the proverb, is in every way a deterrent. Not all killings prevent 
further killings; some such as unjust killings trigger ever more killings. It takes a 
particular kind of killing-one based on the law of talion-to protect the sanctity of life. 

V. The verse, as opposed to the proverb, does not repeat the word qatl. A statement free of 
repetition is always superior to one not so free. This is true even if the repetition is not 
improper in terms of elocution. 

VI. The verse dispenses with the need for an implied syntax, the proverb does not, for in it is 
implied the word min which appears after the superlative form and thereafter. Also 
implied are the words qisas attached to the first qatl, and the word zulm attached to the 
second qatl. The implication therefore would be: " 1-Qatl qisasan anfa li 'l-qatl zulman 
min tarkihi." 

VII. The verse, as opposed to the proverb, is juxtaposed, because the word talion imparts a 
sense of life, the opposite of death. 

VIII. The verse contains elements of the science of metaphors, for it substitutes the word life 
where its antonym, the word, death should have appeared. This placement of the word '/- 
hayat where 'l-maut should have appeared is, according to the work 1-Kashshaf an 
instance of profound hyperbole. The author of the work 1-Idah, says that in positing the 
preposition fi before the word 1-qisas the verse has made talion a source for life itself and 
its treasure-trove. 

IX. The proverb contains a pause after a short vowel (tawaliya) is frowned upon because if 
the short vowels of a word are in sequence it would facilitate its utterance, and show up 
its eloquence, as opposed to when the vowel is followed by a pause. The fluidity of 
movement of the short vowels is interrupted by pauses not unlike the movement of an 
animal which is frequently interrupted~the constant stop and go restricts the mobility of 
this animal and renders it captive. 

X. The proverb is ostensibly a contradiction because things generally do not preclude 

XI. The verse is also superior because it is devoid of the convulsions of the letter qaf 
(qalqala) which evince a sense of harshness and pressure. The verse is also free of the 

nasal sound of the letter nun. 

XII. The verse utilizes letters that are harmonious in terms of pronunciation. The letter qaf and 
the sad next to it are both high letters, as opposed to the letter ta, a low letter which is not 
in harmony with the qaf that precedes it. Similarly, there is greater harmony in the 
pronunciation of the ha after the sad than of the hamza after the lam; this because of the 
distance that exists between the edge of the tongue and the lower throat. 

XIII. There exists a certain beauty in the utterance of letters such as the sad, the ha\ and the ta' 
which is not to be found in the repetition of the qaf with the ta'. 

XIV. The verse is free of the word qatl which evokes images of barbarity, as opposed to hayat, 
a word more consistent with human sentiments than qatl. 

XV. As opposed to the unqualified use of the word qatl the word qisas evokes images of 
equality and justice. 

XVI. The tone of the verse is affirmative, that of the proverb, negative; an affirmation is lofty, 
whilst a negation is secondary to it. 

XVII. The proverb is unintelligible without an understanding of the idea that the laws of talion 
give life; in contrast, the verse "in the laws of talion is life. . ." is, immediately 

XVIII. Whilst the proverb contains a noun coined from the superlative form of the transitive 
verb afal, the verse is free of this. 

XIX. The afal form of any word generally suggests a cause and effect relationship, and this 
would suggest that not retaliating would itself be a deterrent for killing, whereas it is 
retaliation that is the greater deterrent. The verse however, is free of this. 

XX. Because the law of talion applies to both life and limb, the verse acts as a deterrent to 
both these acts. There is after all, life even in the retaliatory laws pertaining to bodily 
injuries, because the impairment of a limb deprives one of a full existence, and that may 
well deprive one of a meaningful life. The same is not true for the proverb. At the outset 
the verse uses the words 'for you' (lakum) and for a special purpose. It is a special gesture 
unto believers specifically, to show that it is their lives that are precious, even though the 
same may apply to others besides them. 



Firstly, Qudama includes intimation (ishara) in the category of styles {badi x ) He defines 
it as the process of using an economy of words to convey complex ideas. This however, is 
precisely, how the qasr form of brevity (ijaz) 27 is defined , although Ibn Abu '1-Isbr 
distinguishes between the two. He says that in the case of brevity the words conform to the 
meaning, whereas in the case of intimation the words necessitate the same meaning or 
incorporate it. It is thus clear that the objective of the ishara form is the same as that of the 
previously mentioned, explicit (mantua) form. 

Secondly, the judge Abu Bakr says in the work Vjaz i-Qur 'an that one form of brevity is 
tadmin which, according to him, "is to arrive at the meaning of a word without specifically using 
the word that refers to it. He said that this is of two kinds: firstly, that which is understood from 
the structure of the word itself ; f or example, the word known {ma lum) necessarily implies a 
knower Calim). Secondly, that which is understood from the meaning of the sentence; for 
example, the statement, 'In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful' includes directives 
about the need to glorify and gain benedictions by invoking the name of God, Almighty during 

Thirdly, Ibn 'l-Athlr, along with the author of the work ^Arus i-Afrah and others contend 
that parenthetical statements in which particles such as illa, innama, etc. are used, are one form 
of the T)az i-qasr In this case one statement is doing the work of two. Also belonging to this 
category are the following: 
A. the conjunction, because it is used to obviate the need to restate a word that is governed 

by a regent. ( ^amil); 
B. the passive agent, because it points to the subject by assuming its performance, and to the 

object because it assumes the latter's position. 
C. the pronoun, because it obviates the need to mention the subject explicitly, which is why 

the detached pronoun is not used for as long as the attached will suffice. 
D. statements such as: ^alimtu annaka qaim 28 because they employ one subject as a 

27 The qasr form of ijaz incorporates a concise rendition of a multiplicity of meanings without elision. 
28 "I know that you are standing. " 


substitute for two objects without the omission of words. Also belonging to this category 
are the following: 

• the tansiu \ which in the opinion of '1-Farra' occurs if the subject of the verb is not 
implied 29 . 

• The plural of the interrogative and conditional particles. Thus the statement 'Kam 
maluka?' dispenses with the need to add: 'a huwa "ishrun am thalatun?' etc. 

• words such as ahadun which of necessity, generalize. 

• the dual and plural forms which appear in place of the singular form and obviate the 
need to repeat the singular. Their particles in both these cases substitutes for it. 

Also appropriate to this category is the ittisa" form of badi " or style. The latter, as Ibn Abu '1- 

Isbr points out, refers to words whose letters offer some latitude in interpretation; such as is the 

case with the truncated letters. 

Brevity by Elision 
Elision, which is the second of two forms of brevity, offers many benefits, and f or the 

following reasons: 

A. Solely for brevity's sake and to prevent the superfluousness that the omitted words would 
otherwise have caused. 

B. It gives notice that the time needed to present the elision has shrunk, and that any 
preoccupation therewith will lead to a loss of the objective. This in fact, is also the 
purpose of the warning (tahdhir) and persuasion (ighra) categories, both of which appear 
in the verse: "Naqat Allah wa suqyaha" 30 (91:13) The words naqatAUah serve to warn 
them that it should be left alone, while the words suayaha serve to persuade them to act 

2S "Tanazu* reters to cases where the noun of a single sentence is both object and subject. An example os 
this would be: darabanl zaid wa darabtuhi? 


.God's she-camel. . .let her drink" 


C. Because of the ambiguity that elision engenders, it has the effect of exalting and 

amplifying In the work Minhaj i-Bulagha 'Hazim 31 asserted that where the evidence 
pointing to the omission is strong there the elision would be appropriate. Also appropriate 
is that instance where it may refer to several things whose enumeration would be 
laborious. In such a case it should be omitted and the context itself should suffice. This 
then gives the imagination an opportunity to rummage through the objects that are 
contingent on the context. He said: "It is for this reason that this is the preferred style in 
places where the objective is to impress and instill awe in minds and hearts." One 
example is the Almighty's statement: "hatta idha ja'aha wa futihat abwabuha" 32 (39:73) 
Here, the apodosis is omitted to emphasize the impossibility of describing what they find 
at that point; they are never ending. The mind is left to conjure images as would satisfy it. 
But even with this it would not reach the limits of what's in there. The same is true for the 
verse: "Wa lau tara idh wuqifu ^ala 'l-nar" 33 (6:27), implying that you would then have 
seen a frightful event, one that cannot be put into words. 

• Lessening the utterance of some common statements, as is the case in the verse: "Yusuf ! 

a^rid x an hadha" 34 (12:29) where the exclamatory particle is omitted. Or in the verse: "lam 
yaku" 35 (4:53) where the nun is omitted. Or where it is supposed to be part of a sound 
plural, as in the verse: wa 'l-muqiml '1-salat" 36 (22:35), or the letter ya in in the verse: 
"wa '1-lail idha yasr" 37 (89:4) When asked by the historian '1-Sadusi about this verse '1- 
Akhfash said: "It is Arab custom in cases where digression from the meaning of a word 

31 Hazim b. Muhammad '1-Qurtajini is his full name 

32 "Thus when they get to it, and its doors are flung open. . ." 

33 "If only you could see them, staring at the Fire. . ." 

34 "Yusuf ! Let this pass. . ." 

35 "Norwas he. . ." 

361 . . And those who establish prayer." 
37 ". . And the night as it moves" 


occurs that worcTs letters are reduced. Thus, it is not the night that moves but rather, it is 
therein that movement takes place. Similarly, in the Almighty's statement: "wa ma kanat 
ummuki baghiyya" 38 (19:28) Originally the word read (baghiyyat) but it lost a letter 
because of the change in subject. 

.Nor was your mother a loose woman/ 


Where only God is appropriate as subject, as in the verse: "^alim '1-ghaib wa '1- 
shahadat" 39 (6:73) and: "fa^aal limayurid" 40 (11:107) 

Where mentioning or omitting a word are all the same. Zamakhshari has said: "This is a 
case of the context providing the evidence; and this kind of evidence is more cogent than 
any explicit statement. This is how Hamza's recitation of the following verse is 
interpreted: "tasa'alun bihl wa 'l-arham(a)" 41 (4:1) Because the kasra appears so often in 
this spot the need to repeat the first part of the statement was obviated. 
To preserve the sanctity of God as in the verse "qala fir x aun wa ma rabb 'KalamTn; qala 
rabb '1-samawat" 42 (6:143)The subject in the verses that follow has been omitted in three 
places: before the word rabb in , i.e., huwa rabb;and in Allahu rabb; and in Allahu rabb 
i-mashriq. Because Moses was alarmed at Pharaoh's imprudence, and his arrogance in 
asking such questions, he sought to exalt and sanctify God's name by not uttering it. In 
the work ^Arus i-Afrah the following verse where the word dhataka has been omitted, is 
given as an example: "Rabb! arini! Andhur ilaika" 43 (7:143) 

To show contempt for the subject, as in the verse "Summ bukmun" 44 (2:18) This refers to 
'them' or to the 'hypocrites'. 

39 "The Knower of the unseen, and of that to which testimony is borne." 
40 "He absolutely does as He pleases" 


. . .you demand your rights and also the ties of kinship." 

42 "Pharoah said: 'What of the Sustainer of all the worlds. . .! He said: "He is the Sustainer 
of the Heavens. . 

43 "My Lord! Show Yourself to me, so that I may look at you." 

44 "Deaf, dumb. . ." 


To generalize, as in the verse: "wa iyyaka nastaln" 45 (l:4) where the words 'in our 
worship and in all other matters' ( x ala 'l-lbada wa ^ala iimurinakulliha) have been 
omitted. Another example is the verse "Wa Allah yad^u ila dar '1-salam" 46 (10:25) where 
the word 'every person' (kull wahid) is omitted. 

To maintain the rhyme, as in the verse: "ma wadda^aka rabbuka wa ma qala" 47 (93:2), 
that is, 'nor does He scorn you.' 

45 "And You alone we turn to for help" 

46 "Whilst God calls to an abode of peace" 

47 "Your Sustainer has neither abandoned you nor does He scorn. 



To explain in places that are equivocal. This is so in the case of sha'a in the verse "wa lau 
sha'a la hadakum" 48 (27:9) the intent is 'if He so desired your guidance (hidayatukum)" . 
When one hears the words 'wa lau sha'a' his mind anticipates, without being told, the 
speakers wish. It is the answer that provides a clarification of that wish. This occurs most 
often, after the conditional participle, because the accusative of a sha'a phrase is included 
in the apodosis. It also appears elsewhere as proof but without the apodosis, as in the case 
of the verse: "wa la yuhijun bi shay'in min ^ilmihl illa bima sha'a" 49 (2:255) Scholars have 
asserted that the accusative of a sha'a phrase is only hwoked in cases of strangeness or 
greatness, as in the verses: "liman sha'a minkum an yastaqim" 50 (81:28), and: "lau aradna 
an nattakhidha lahwan" 51 (21:17) Of all the verbs it is the accusative of the sha'a phrase 
that is omitted most frequently, and this is because where there is desire there must also 
be the object of such desire. Thus, the sha'a phrase requiring the incorporation of an 
apodosis can only be an apodosis of desire. It is f or this reason that in the omission of the 
object intent is much like desire. This has been said by Zamlakani, and Tanukhi in the 
work 'l-Aqsa 'l-Qarib. They said: "If the accusative after the particle 'lau' is omitted, it is 
always mentioned in its apodosis. This is explained in the work ^Arus 'l-Afrah through 
the verse "qalu lau sha'a rabbuna la 'anzala mala'ikat" 52 (41:14). The meaning of this 
verse is: 'If our Sustainer sought to send down messengers, He would surely have sent 
down angels.' The meaning is specific to this explanation. 

The shaikh x Abd '1-Qahir has said "In all cases where the noun ought to have been 
omitted it was because its omission was better than its mention. Ibn '1-Jinni calls elision the 

48 "And if He so desired. . . He would have guided you aright" 
49 "They cannot acquire any of His knowledge without His permission. 
50 "for those among you who seek to be righteous.' 
51 'If our Sustainer so desired He would surely have sent down angels' 


coaxing of the Arabic language because it coaxes conversation. 

Rule Pertaining to the Elision of the Accusative for Reasons of Abridgement (Ikhtisar and 


Ibn Hisham has said: "It is customary for grammarians to use the terms ikhtisaran and 
\qtisaran where the object is elided. The former refers to elisions based on evidence and the 
latter to elisions without evidence. The example they provide is the verse: "Kulu wa ishrabu" 
53 (52:19) that is, indulge in these two practices. On scrutinizing the opinions of the experts on 
eloquence it becomes clear that on occasion, only the occurrence of an act is intended, and not 
the subject of the act, nor the object. In such cases the infinitive is used attached to a general "to 
be"verb, and it is then said, for instance, 'a fire occurred' or a robbery. In other cases the intent is 
to inform by conveying that an act has been performed by the subject. This then suffices, and the 
accusative is not mentioned nor is it intended; for that which is intended is like that which is 
present. Nor should it be called elided, because the verb in such a case is reduced to being a verb 
without an object. Examples thereof are the verses: 

i-"rabbi alladhl yuhyl wa yurriit" 54 (2:258) The meaning here is that it is my Lord who performs 
the giving and the taking of life. 

53 "Eat and drink. ." 

54 "My Lord is the one who gives and takes life. 


ii- "Qul hal yastawl alladhina yalamun wa alladhlna la yalamun" 55 (39:9) that is, "Are those 

described as having knowledge and those devoid of knowledge, equal?" 

iii- "Kulu wa ishrabu wa la tusrifu" 56 (7:31) that is, "Indulge in eating and drinking, and eschew 


iv- "wa idha ra'aita thamma ra'aita" 57 (76:20) that is, when you are able to see. 

Another verse is: "wa lamma warada ma'a madyan" 58 (28:23) It should be clear that 
Moses (s) was being merciful to the two ladies, not because their task was to restrain, sheep 
whilst their people watered camels, but simply because they kept back whilst their people 
watered. Similarly, the intent in using the word "lanasqf is not to indicate that as a rule, they 
did not water animals, but to show that they had no access to water. One who is oblivious to this 
may interpret these verses as follows: 'they have the right to water camels'; 'they restrained 
their sheep' and also 'we do not water sheep'. 

55 "Say! Are those who know and those who do not, equal?" 
56 "Eat and drink, and be not wasteful" 

57 "And when you look, you will see. . 

58 "And when he arrived at the wells of Madyan. . ." 


At times the subject and the object are mentioned because the intent is to ascribe the verb 
to its subject and to attach it to the object. This is so in the verses: ' wa la ta'kulu '1- 
riba" 59 (3:130); "wa la taqrabu 'l-zina" 60 (17:32) And in cases such as these, where the omitted 
words are not mentioned they will be said to be omitted. In cases where an indicator points to the 
elision, there is some surety that the omitted words must be accounted for. This is so in the 
following verses: a hadha alladhi ba^atha Allah rasulan" 61 "(25:41), and "wa kullan wa^ada Allah 
'l-husna" 62 (4:95) At times, however, the elision is doubtM, as in the verse: "qul! 'Ud^u Allah au 
'ud^u '1-rahman" 63 (17:110) If the word t/cT« is translated to mean 'call out to' then the elision is 
not inferred; if however, it is translated to mean: "invoke the name of" then it will be inferred. 
The Conditions for Elision 

There are eight conditions for elision: 
1-Actual Evidence, which may be contextual, as in the verse: "qalu salaman" 64 (11:69) which 
means that we greet you with peace. Or verbal, as in the verse: "wa qila li alladhina ittaqau 
madha anzala rabbukum qalu khair" 65 (16:30) that is, 'he sent down good.' Another example is 
the verse: "qala salam qaum munkarun" 66 (51:25) which means, 'Peace upon you, you are an 
unknown group." 

The intellect provides evidence where it is impossible to make rational sense of a statement 
except by implying an elision. At times it does provide evidence of elision but not about its 

59 "Do not consume riba. . ." 

60 "Do not get close to fornication. . ." 

61 "Is this (person) the one God chose to send as a messenger!" 

62,1 And to every (believer) God has promised good." 

63 "Say! Invoke God or invoke the Most Gracious. . ." 

64 "Theysaid:Peace!" 

65 "And, when asked, "What has your Lord bestowed upon you?, those who are God 
conscious say: "Only good." 

66 "He said: 'Peace~a group unknown" 


specifics; the latter is provided by some other evidence. An example is the verse: "hurrimat 
^alaikum 'l-maitat" 67 (5:3) where logic dictates that carrion itself cannot be the forbidden object, 
because lawfulness does not apply to the end result, but lawfulness and unlawfulness apply to 
acts. Thus one ascertains through logic that an elision has occurred. Identifying this elision, 
which is not to eat, is by way of the law, and in this case, the statement of the Prophet (s) "It is its 
consumption that is forbidden." 68 The latter is required by the intellect, because it cannot 
independently determine the lawful and the unlawful. As for the view of the author of the work 
1-Talkhis 69 , that this too, is based on rational proof, it is based on an uncritical adoption of '1- 
Sakaki's 70 view, which in itself is based on a Mu x tazilite principle. 

67 "Forbidden unto you is carrion. . ." 

68 'L-Bukhari, 1-Sahlh , hadith #1292 

69 '1-Qazwini, Jalal '1-Din b. Muhammad b. ^Abd '1-Rahman, 1-Talkhis 

70 '1-Sakaki, Yusuf b. ' Ali, author of the work KitSb Miftah 1- ^Ulum 


Sometimes the intellect does point to the elision as in the verse: "Wa ja'a rabbuka" 
71 (89:22) It is His order, or more specifically, His punishment that will come, because the 
intellect shows that the coming of the Lord is impossible, This is so because 'coming' is an 
attribute of transience, and that this was the act of the comer. Other verses are: "aufu bi 'Kuqud" 
72 (5:1) and "aufu bi x ahd Allah" 73 (16: 91) which mean pursuant to the contracts and to the 
pledge given to God. This is because contracts and pledges are statements that come into 
existence and then terminate, and their fulfilment and revocation therefore, are inconceivable. 
Fulfilment and revocation occur as a consequence to them and with regard to the consequence of 
their strictures. 

Sometimes it is convention that singles out the object of elision, as in the verse "Fa 
dhalikunna alladhl lumtunnani fihi" 74 (12:32) The mind points to an elision because it is not 
plausible that Yusuf was the object of rebuke. Furthermore, the verse: "fa qad shagafaha 
hubban" 75 (12:30) may allude to the words: "you have been blaming me because of my passion 
for him." as being elided It may however, also allude to her efforts to seduce him, as in the verse: 
"turawidu fataha" 76 (12:30) Convention seems to point to the latter because one is not generally 
rebuked for being passionately in love, but rather, for attempting to seduce; the prevention of the 
latter is within one's capacity. 


72 "fulfil the pledges. . ." 

73 "Fulfil the pledge to God. . ." 

74 This then, is the person about whom you have been blaming me.' ! 

75 "Passion has pierced her heart." 

76 "She is trying to seduce her slave-boy" 


At times the elision is explicated elsewhere, and this is the most compelling form thereof . 
An example is the verse: "Hal yandhurun illa an ya'tiyahum Allah" 77 (2:210) which, as is clear 
from the verse:"Au ya'tiya amr rabbika" 78 (16:23), refers to His command. The verse ". 79 "Wa 
jannat x ard uha '1-samawat" (3:133) actually means "like the vastness of the skies" as is clear 
from the verse in the chapter 'l-Bayyina" And the verse: "rasul min Allah" 80 (98:2) actually means 
"rasul min IndAUah" as is clear from the verse: "wa lamma ja'ahum rasul min x ind 
Allah" 81 (2:101) 

Convention also provides proof of the existence of elision.. An example is the verse: 
"Lau nalamu qital la ittaba'nakum" 82 (3:167) which may be interpreted as is without positing 
any elision. But the verse actually refers to 'the place where the battie was to have taken place', 
or a place appropriate for battle. This is implied from the fact that they they were indeed, quite 
knowledgeable about warfare, and would have been embarrassed to utter such ignorance of 
fighting. Thus, convention precludes the interpretation "If only we knew how to fight", and this 
is also why the exegete, Mujahid posited the words 'the place of battle'. Their indication to the 
Prophet (s) that he not leave the confines of the city of Medina, also points to this fact. 

Another way of determining the elision is to focus on the action that the statement 
implies; thus in the verse "In the name of Allah" if the action is one of recitation then the verb 
implied would be "I read" , and if it is one of eating, then it would be "I begin eating". Whilst 
rhetoricians agree on this explanation the grammarians insist that it implies "I have begun" or 
"My beginning is" with the name of Allah. That the former view is more correct is borne out by 
an explicit statement in this regard in the verse: "wa qala irkabu fiha bism Allah majraiha wa 

77 "Do they wait for God to come. . ." 

78 "Or that the command of your Lord comes" 


80 "A messenger from God." 

81 "And when unto them came a messenger from God." 

82 "If only we knew battle, we would surely have obeyed you." 



mursaha" (11:41) More proof is the hadith which states: "In Your name my Lord, I lay down my 

83 'Embark ye, on the Ark! In the name of God let its sailing and its anchoring be!' 


Another way of determining elisions is through grammatical conventions, as in the view 
regarding the verse "La uqsimu " 84 (75:l)which is taken to imply "La ana uqsima " because the 
verb of a circumstantial phrase (hal) is not used to swear an oath. Another example is the verse: 
"Ta Allah taft'u" 85 (12:85) implies "you will never cease" because if the apodosis was in the 
affirmative sense then the letters lam and nun would have been added to the verb. This is so in 
the verse: "wa tallah la 'akidanna" 86 (21:57) 

In some cases the statement is self evident and in no need of implying an elision, but 
grammatical conventions demand that this be done, as in the case of the statement "La Ilaha illa 
Allah" Here the predicate "maujud" or 'present' is omitted. The imam Fakhr '1-Din rejected this 
view saying "One need not imply an elision for this verse, and the view of the grammarians is 
false because the negation of an objects existence in absolute terms is broader than its negation 
in specific terms. An objects absolute negation is proof of the negation of its quiddity as well as 
any qualifications it might have. But if some quality which has been specifically qualified is 
negated then that in itself would not require the negation of other qualities. The rebuttal 
however, is that the word 'present' (maujud) necessitates the absolute negation of all other dieties 
but Allah. There is no question about their non existence, because the word itself is a negation 
of quiddity in absolute terms without qualifications. In any event, the word must be posited as a 
predicate because it is impossible to have a subject without a substantive or an implied predicate. 
Even when the meaning is clear the grammarian will assume a predicate if only to conform to the 

I swear. . . 
85 "By Allah! You will cease. . ." 
86 "By Allah! I will certainly conspire to 


Ibn Hisham has said: "Proof is required in cases where the elision is an entire sentence or 
one of its two parts, or where it provides a meaning that the statement itself is based on. An 
example is the verse: "Ta Allah taft'u"(12:85) As for the ancillaries of a sentence, that their 
elision has occurred need not be proved through evidence. The only requirement is that such an 
elision not cause a violation in the sense, or the structure of a sentence. He also said that where 
the proof is a word, it should conform to the elision. He thus rejected Farra's assertion that in the 
verse: " 'a yahsab '1-insan an lan najma^a x izamahu; bala qadirin" 87 (75:4) the inference is "Yea 
indeed! He will know {la yahsabanna qadirm) that we have the power." The word yahsabu 
mentioned in the verse means, to think, while the word qadirina refers to actual knowledge 
thereof. Because scepticism about the resurrection of dead bones is heresy it is hardly likely that 
man would be ordered to do so. He went on to say: "The correct view is that of Sibawayh that the 
word qadirin is a circumstantial phrase (hal) and the implication is "We will reassemble them, 
with ability", because the plural form of the verb is closer to the elision than the verbal form of 
the word hisban, and also because the word bala is used to change a negative into the 
affirmative case, and in this case it happens to be the verb in the plural form." 
2-The elision should not be equivalent to a part. Thus, the active participle, the passive subject, 
the subject of the kana construction and its sisters may not be elided. Ibn Hisham said: "As for 
Ibn x Ajiyya's assertion with regard to the verse: "bi'sa mathal 'l-qaum. . ," 88 (62:5) implying: 
"bi 'sa mathal mathal i-qaum": if by this is meant an analysis of the inflections and that the active 
participle is the omitted word i-mathl then that ought to be rejected. If however, he meant 
thereby an explanation of the meaning, and that the pronoun representing the word i-mathl is 
concealed in the bi 'sa then that is acceptable. 

3-The elision should not have been for emphasis, for an elision negates emphasis. This is 
because any elision is based on brevity, as opposed to emphasis which is based on prolixity. It is 
for this reason that '1-Farisi rebuts '1-Zajjaj's assertion that the verse: "in hadhan la sahiran" 89 

87 "Does man think we are unable to reassemble his bones; Yea indeed! We do have the 
power. . ." 

88 "Calamitous is the parable of a people. . ." 

89 "These two are but magicians. . ." 


(20:63) implies "These two are but sorcerers for them (z'n hadhani lahuma sahirani). He 

maintained that "The letter lam cannot be used to omit as well as to emphasize. But nothing 

prevents an elision based on some proof and its subsequent emphasis. This is because an elision 

supported by evidence is equivalent to being present. 

4-The elision should not cause the abridgement of an abridgement; thus the verbal noun should 

not be omitted because it is in turn an abridgement of the verb. 

5-The elision should not be the weak regent (^amil da*if); thus prepositions, and words governing 

the subjunctive and the apocopate forms should not be omitted except in cases where, because of 

their frequent use, the proof of their elision is strong. 

6-The elision should itself not be a substitute for another word. Thus, because the Arabs allow 

the elision of the interjection {harf i-nida) Ibn Malik asserted that it was not a substitute for the 

word 'ad x 3. This is also why the letter ta 'in words such as iqamat and istiqamat is not omitted. 

And one should not draw an analogy from the elision in the verse 'wa iqama '1-Salat" (21:73) The 

same is true for the predicate of a kana sentence because it acts as a substitute for its infinitive. 

7-The elision should not necessitate a strong form of the regent; thus no analogy is drawn from 

the verse: "wa kullan wa^ada Allah 'l-husna" 90 (57:10) 


Where possible, Akhfash has taken gradation into consideration; and this is why he has 
said with regard to the verse: "wa ittaqu yauman la tajzl nafs x an nafs shai'an" 91 (2:48) that 
originally it read 'latajzTfM'. The preposition was first omitted and it became 'latajzThi' and 
later, the pronoun was omitted and it ended up, 'tajzT. There is a distinct subtlelty about such a 
construction, but Sibawayh considers both words elided at the same time. Ibn Jinni said that 
Akhfash's view is more suited to human nature than the elision of two words simultaneously. 


And unto each We have promised some good." 

91 "And be conscious of the Day when one human being shall not in the least be able to 
avail himseh of another" 


In order to avoid contradicting a well established convention and putting words in places 
other than where they belong, a word should only be implied omitted in places where it generally 
appears. Thus in the statement 'Zaidan ra 'aituhu 'the exegete will have to posit an elision at the 
beginning. The rhetoricians, together with the grammarians, have however permitted an elision 
at the end of such a statement as well, to show specificity, or, as in the case of the following 
verse, where a rule prevents it: "wa amma thamud fa hadainahum" 92 (41:17) Here, the word 
'ammS is not followed by a verb. 

It is also required that in order to avoid contradictions with general rules that positing 
(taqdir) be kept to a minimum. It is for this reason that Farsi's contention is considered weak, 
with regard to the verse: "wa alla'I lam yahidna" 93 (65:4) where the words "three months would 
be their waiting period' are supposedly implied. To posit the elision of the word "kadhalika" is 
preferable. The shaikh Tzz '1-DTn said: "Only words most clear, and closest to the objective 
should be regarded as omitted; this, because the Arabs will not posit a word except if the 
presence of such a word would ordinarily be better and more appropriate for that statement. An 
example is the verse: "jVala Allah 'l-ka x bata '1-bait '1-haram qiyaman li '1-nas" 94 (5:97) Whilst 
Abu x Ali has posited the elision to be 'the structure of the House'(nusfa i-Ka^ba) others have 
posited 'sanctity of the House' (hurmat i-Ka x bcz)This is more appropriate because sanctity is also 
applied to the sacrificial animal, the necklace (put around the neck of the animal of sacrifice), 
and the sacred months. This is undoubtedly more eloquent than the word nusb which seems far 
removed from this sense. He also said: "Whenever an elision wavers between good and better, 
one must choose the latter, for God Almighty in describing His Book, spoke of it as being the 
"best of speech'; its elisions therefore must be of the best, just as its pronouncements are of the 

92 "As for the Thamud, We guided them." 

93 "As for those not menstruating. . ." 

94 "Allah hath decreed that the Ka^aba, the inviolable House, shall remain a symbol for all 


When an elision may either be synoptical or discursive then positing the latter is more 
appropriate, as is the case with the verse: "wa Dawud wa Sulaiman idh yahkuman fi '1-harth" 
95 (21:78) One may either posit 'in the matter of the pasture' or 'they were made to account for the 
pasture as missing'; the latter is more appropriate because it makes specific, while the former is 
synoptic and vacillating among several options. 

If, in singling out the elision the choice is between considering it a verb that is omitted 
and its subject which is included, or between a subject that is omitted and its predicate which is 
included, then the latter is preferable. This is because the subject in being the target of the 
predicate makes the elision the target of the inclusion and creates the impression that no elision 
has taken place. The verb however is quite unlike the subject, except if it is substantiated by 
some other narrative in the same place or elsewhere. An example of the former is the passive 
form of the verb in the verse: " His praises (yusabbahu) are sung therein. . ."(24:36) for it implies 
that 'men sing His praises'. Another is the verse: "Thus, was it revealed unto you (yuha) and unto 
those before you. ." (42:3) which implies "God reveals to you". They will not however, be 
considered subjects with elided predicates because in the view of those who consider the verb as 
representing the subject, the effectiveness of the subjects is established. An example of the 
second case is the verse: "wa la'in sa'altahum man khalaqahum la yaqulunna ALlah" 96 (6:80). In 
this case it is preferable to posit "khalaqahum Allah" than "Allah khalaqahum" because the verse 
that follows is "khalaqa hunna 'KAziz 'KAlIm" 97 (43:9) 

95 "Recall, when David and Solomon passed judgement on the pasture incident. . ." 
% "If you were to ask them who created them they would say "God!" 

97 "The Almighty, the Omnipotent created them" 


If the choice is between the first and the second parts being omitted choosing the second 
is preferable. It thus follows that in the statement " x a tuhaajjunni" 98 (6:80) it must be assumed 
that the second nun indicating the accusative is omitted rather than the first nun of the 
nominative case. In the verse "nar talazza" "(92:14)it is the second ta' and not the first which is 
the ta of the present tense which is elided. And in the verse "wa Allah wa rasuluhu ahaqqu an 
yurdauhu" 100 (9:62) the elision happens to be the predicate of the second statement and not the 
first. And in a verse such as: "'1-hajj ashhur" 101 (2:197) the elision is the mudaf of the second 
noun. Thus it would be hajj ashhur and not ashhur 1-hajj. In some cases it is required that it be 
the first, as in the following verse if the word malaikatuhu is recited in the nominative case: 
"Inna Allah wa mala'ikatahu yusallun ^ala '1-nabiyy" 102 (33:56) This is because this predicate (is 
in the plural form and is thus) specific to the second subject which is in the plural form. In other 
cases such as the verse: "anna Allah bari' min '1-mushrikin wa rasuluhu" 103 (9:3) the elision must 
be posited with the second noun because the predicate appears before it. Thus, reconstructed, it 
would read: wa rasuluhu bari' aidan 

Forms of Elision 
There are several forms of elision: 

"Do you dispute with me!" 
""Blazing tlames." 

100 "God and His Messenger have more right to be obeyed." 
101 "Hajj is to be performed in the months. . ." 



"Verily God and His Angels send salutations to the Prophet" 
And that God and His Messenger are totally absolved of the pagans. 


1-The first form, known as 1-lqtita\ entails the elision of some letters of a word. Ibn 'l-'Athir 
rejects the occurrence of this genre in the Qur'an, but his view is rebutted by the fact that some 
scholars include therein the opening letters of the chapters. This, as mentioned previously, is 
based on the theory that each of these letters represents the names of God. Some have argued 
that the preposition ba that appears in the verse: "wa imsahu bi ru'usikum" 104 (5:6) is the first 
letter of the word ba^d whose remaining letters were omitted. Another example is the 
verse "wa nadau: "ya mali" 105 (43:77) where, according to some recitations, the final 
consonant of the word malik is elided (tarkhlm). On hearing this some of the pious 
ancestors commented: "Of what use could elision be to the denizens of Hell!" Some 
scholars responded that because of the severity of their condition, they were unable to 
complete the statement. 

Also belonging to this category is the elision of the letter hamza of the word ana 
in the verse: "wa lakinna huwa Allah" rabbi" 106 (18:38) Reconfigured, the word would 
read: lakin ana, but the hamza of 'ana was omitted and the letter ntin was assimilated 
(idgham) into the previous ntin. Other examples are: "wa yumsiku 'l-sarma' an taqa'a 
'allarda 107 (22:65); "bi rma 'unzillika 108 (2:4); "fa man ta^ajjala fi yaumain falathma 
^alaihi" 109 (2:203); and "innaha Ihada 'l-kubar" 110 (74:35). 

104., . r i i n 

...wipe part ot your head. 
105 "And they will call out: 'Oh angel. . . !" 


But as for myselt, [I know that] He is God, my sustainer. 

107 "...and [that it is He who] holds the celestial bodies from collapsing on the earth (^allardi instead 
of ala 1-'ardi)..." 

108 "...which has been bestowed from on high upon thee (unzlika instead of unzila ilaika),..." 

109 "...but he who hurries away within two days shall incur no sin (falathma instead of fala ithma)..." 

110 "Verily, that [hell-fire] is indeed one (lahda instead of la ihda) of the great [forewarnings]" 


2-The second form, known as 1-iktifa' occurs where for some special reason one of two 
words that are bonded together is omitted in a context that would otherwise require the 
mention of both words. In most cases this applies to words linked by a conjunction, as 
in the verse; "sarabil taqikum 'l-harr" 111 (16:81) which, reconfigured, would include wa 1- 
bard (and the cold), except that the addressees in this case are the Arabs whose lands 
are hot and for whom protection from the heat, given its severity, is more important 
than from the cold. This elision is also said to be due to the fact that the bounty of 
protection from the cold was made explicit in the verse: "wa min aswafiha wa aubariha 
wa ashTariha" 112 (16:80) Other examples are the verse: "wa ja^ala lakum min 'l-jibal 
aknanan" 113 (16:81), and the verse: "wa '1-an'am khalaqaha lakum fiha dif'un" 114 (16:5) . 
Other examples of this genre are the verse:"bi yadika 'l-khair" 115 (3:26) which 
reconfigured, would read wa 1-sharr (and evil). Good is singled out for special mention 
because it is the objective of worship, or because it is more plentiful, or because it is 
irreverent to attribute evil to God. This is echoed in the statement of the Prophet (s) 
"and evil is not ascribed to You!" 116 

Also in this category is the verse: "wa lahu rma sakana fi 'l-lail wa 'l-nahar" 117 
(6:13) While this ought to include the word 'moves' wa mataharraka (and what moves), 
the word sakana (rests) has been singled out for mention because it is the predominant 
condition shared between animals and humans. In addition, everything that moves ultimately 
aspires towards rest. Another example is the verse: "alladhina yu'minuna bi '1-ghaib" 118 (2:3) 


.garments to protectyou from heat..." 

112 "...and [to make] turnishings and goods for temporary use of their [rough] wool and their soft, 
furry wool..." 

113 " and from the mountains He fashioned for you" 

114 "And He creates cattle: you derive warmth from them, and [various other] uses 

115 "...ln Thy hand is all good..." 

116 Muslim, 1-SaM #771. 

117 ". . .to Him belongs all that rests in the night and the day," 

118 "who believe in [the existence of] the unseen" 


This reconfigured, would read: wa i-shahadat (and the seen) because belief in both is essential, 
but the former has been singled out for mention because it is more praiseworthy, and because the 
unseen needs to be believed in, but that is not the case with the seen. Another example is the 
verse: "wa rabb 'l-mashariq" 119 (37:5) and "its setting". Also, in the verse: "hudan li '1- 
muttaqin" 120 (2:2) the word 'disbelieving' is omitted. This is the view of '1-Anbari, and it is 
supported by the verse: "hudan li 'l-nas" 121 (2:185). Another elision is in the verse: "in imru'un 
halaka laisa lahu walad" 122 (4:176) where 'father' is included, because it goes on to grant the 
sister one half, and this occurs only in the absence of the father, who would otherwise deprive 

119 "And the Lord of the sun's rising." 
120 "...a guidance for the god-conscious" 
121 " a guidance unto mankind..." 
122 "...lf a man dies, childless. . ." 


3- This category, known as 'l-IMkak, is the most creative and elegant of this genre. But the 
rhetoricians rarely if ever, bring attention to it, and I did not see it in the commentary of the The 
Eloquence of the Blind One by his companion, the Andalusian 123 . '1-Zarkashl did make mention 
this in the work 'l-Burhan, but not with this title; rather, he called it the symmetrical elision ( 1- 
Hadhf 'l-Muqabili). Of the contemporary scholars it is Burhan '1-DIn '1-Biqjfi who dedicated a 
separate work to this topic. In his commentary to the work 'l-Badfiyya '1-Andalusi had this to 
say: " 'l-Ihtikak is one powerful f orm of the metaphor, and it entails the elision of a word in the 
first part of a statement whose opposite appears in the second part, and vice versa„ An example 
of this is the verse: "wa mathal 'lladhina kafaru ka mathal 'lladhi yan x iqu" 124 (2:171) The verse 
reconfigured, reads: "the parable of the prophets and the disbelievers is that of one who cries out 
in warning and one who hears the cry as no more than a sound and a call." In the first instance 
the word 'prophets' is omitted because the words "alladhiyan*iqu" alludes to it, and in the 
second instance the words "alladhi ymf aqu bihi" is omitted because "alladhiha kafaru" alludes to 

123 He is Muhammad b. Ahmad b. "Ali (d.780 h.) also known as Ibn Jabir '1-Andalusi, the author of the 
work, 1-BaaTlyya. His companion is said to be Yusuf '1-Ralni '1-Andalusi. 

124 "And so, the parable of those who are bent on denying the truth is that of the beast which hears 
the shepherd's cry, and hears in it nothing but a sound and call. . ." 


Another example is the verse: "wa adkhil yadaka fi jaibika takhruju baida'" 125 (27:12) 
which, when reconfigured implies firstly, that the hand, when placed in the bosom, was not 
white, and secondly, that it was removed from the bosom. Thus, from the first part the words 
"ghair baydS" has been omitted and from the second, the words "wa akhrajaha". '1-Zarkash 
however, defined '1-iMbak as opposite phrases coming together in a single statement, such that 
the parallel object of each phrase is elided, because a word in the opposite phrase alludes to the 
elided word. An example is the verse: "amm yaquluna iftarahu qul in irtaraituhu fa x alayya ijraml 
wa ana bari'un min ma tujrimun" 126 (11:35) Reconfigured, the verse would read: "in iftaraituhu 
fa ^alayya ijramiwa antum bura 'aii minhu; wa ^alaikum ijramukum ana barliin min ma 
tujrimun "or ". . .If I fabricated this then mine is the sin, and you are absolved thereof. But you 
alone bear the burden of your sins, whilst I stand exonerated of your sins." 

Another example is the verse: "wa yu^adhdhib 'l-munafiqina in sha'a au yatuba 
^alaihim" 127 (33:24) which, when reconfigured, would read: "wa yu^adhdhib 'l-munafiqiha in 
sha'a fa layatubu ^alaihim; auyatuba ^alaihim fa layu^adhdhibhum" or: " . . .And punish the 
hypocrites -if that be His will-and not forgive them, or forgive them and not punish them." And 
the verse "wa la taqrbuhunna hatta yathurna fa idha tatahharna fa'tuhunna" 128 (2:222) implies: 
"until they are cleansed of menstrual blood and cleanse themselves with water. And you may 
only draw close to them after they are so cleansed and have cleansed themselves." And the verse: 
"khalaju ^amalan salihan wa akharu sayyi'an" 129 (9:102) implies "doing righteous deeds along 
with evil deeds, and other evil deeds along with righteous ones." Another elegant example is the 
statement of the Almighty: "fi'at tuqatilu fi sabil Allah wa ukhra kafiran" 130 (3:13) which alludes 

125 "Now place thy hand into thy bosom: it will come forth [shining] white, without blemish!" 

126 "Do some perhaps claim, "[Muhammad] tabricated this [story]"? Say: "lf I tabricated this then 
upon me be this sin; but far be it from me to commit the sin of which you are guilty." 

127 "...and cause the hypocrites to suffer-if that be His will- or [if they repent] accept their 

128 "...and do not draw near unto them until they are cleansed. And after they are cleansed you may 
draw near to them." 

129 "...after doing righteous deeds side by side with evil ones. . ." 

130 " host fighting in God's cause and the other denying Him," 


to one host of believers fighting in the path of God and the other, a host of disbelievers fighting 
in the path of false gods. KirmariTs work l-Gharalb, states that the first verse (2:171) implies: 
'The parable of those who disbelieve, O Muhammad!, is that of a crier among sheep'. From each 
part of the analogy an elision is made of that which is alluded to in the second part. The Qur'an 
has many examples of this, and it is the most eloquent form of speech." 

This name is derived from the word 1-habk which means firmness, precision, and the 
refinement of the handiwork on a garment. Thus, when the phrase habk 'l-thaub is used it refers 
to the closing of the gaps between the stitches, and its refinement in a way that prevents gaps and 
yet reflects beauty. The similarity to the verse in question is that the elisions in the verse are 
compared to the gaps in the sewing. The person who appreciates such eloquence then utilizes his 
creativity to arrange and mend it. He then puts the elided words in such gaps, fills them and 
prevents voids that occur to him, and thus completes the meaning of the verse, and also adds 
refinement to it. 

4- This form, known as 'l-IkhtizM is like no other, in that the elision may be a noun, a verb, a 
particle, or more. 
The Elision of the Noun 

a-The elision of the mudaf: This form appears extensively throughout the Qur'an, so much so that 
Ibn '1-Jinni had this to say: "The Quran contains a thousand examples of this form." In his work 
1-Majaz the shaikh, 1zz 'l-Dln has compiled such elisions sequentially by chapter and 
verse. The tollowing verses are examples of this genre. The verse: " 'l-hajj ashhur. . 
." 131 (2:197) which when recontigured would either read hajj ashhuhn or ashhur 1-hajj. 
The verse: "wa lakinna 'l-birr man armana" 132 (2:177) which, when recontigured could 
read dha 1-birr or birr man. The verse: "hurrimat 'alaikum ummahatukum" 133 (4:23) 
when recontigured would read: nikah ummahatikum. The verse: "la adhaqnaka diT 'I- 
hayat wa di'f 'l-mamat" 134 (17:75) when reconfigured would read: dHa ^adhab. The 

131 "The pilgrimage shall take place in the months. 
132 "...but truly pious is he who believes..." 
133 "Forbidden to you are your mothers..." 


,„ 135 

verse"wa fi 'l-riqab" (2:177) when recontigured, would read: fa tahnr 1-riqab. " 

134 "...We would indeed have made thee taste life twice and death twice. 
135 "...and is the treeing of necks from bondage..." 


b-The elision of the mudaf ilaihi: This appears frequently in the case of the letter ya' of 
the first person, as in: "rabb (I) ighfirli" 136 (7:151). It also occurs in cases indicating 
objectives as in the verse: "Li Allah 'l-amr min qablu wa min ba^d" 137 (30:4), that is, 
before and after victory. The same is true in cases where the prepositions kull, ayy, and 
bad are used, though there are occasions other than these where they also appear. 
This is so in the case of the verse: "fa la khaufun 'alaihim" 138 (2:38) which when recited 
without the nunation is reconfigured to read: 'fa \akhaufu shayln ^alaihim". 

136 "0 my Sustainer! Forgive me! " 

137 "...[for] with God rests all power of decision, first and last..." 


.need have no fear 


c-The elision of the subject: This appears frequently in response to a question as in the 
verse: "wa ma adraka rma hiya! Nar!. . ." 139 (101:10,11), which when reconfigured reads: 
hiya nar. It also occurs after the letter fa of a conditional response, as in the verse: "man 
'amila salihan fa linafsihi" 140 (45:15) which when reconfigured reads: 'his actions are for 
his personal benefit' (fa ^amaluhuli natsihi"). And the verse: "wa man 'asa'a fa 'alaiha" 
141 (45:15) when reconfigured reads: 'his evil will be borne by [his soul]' (fa isaatuhu 
^alaiha). It also occurs after the word qaul as in: "wa qalu asatir 'l-awwalin" 142 (25:5); 
and: "qalu adghathu ahlarm" 143 (12:44). This is also the case in instances where the 
predicate that follows gives the meaning of an adjective. An example is the verse: "'I- 
ta'ibun 'l-^abidun" 144 (9:112), and the verse: "summun bukmun ^umyun. . ." 145 (2:18). 
This has also occurred in other circumstances, as in the verse: "la yaghurrannaka 
taqallubu alladhina kafaru fi 'l-bilad; mata^un qalil" 146 (3:196,197); and the verse: "lam 
yalbathu illa sa^atan min nahar; balagh" 147 (46:35); and the verse: 'suratun anzalnaha" 148 
(24:1), that is, 'this is a chapter'. The elision is compulsory in cases where the adjective 
in the nominative case is cut off from the subject. Or when the predicate is omitted as in: 
"'ukuluha da'im wa iilluha" 149 (13:35), that is, everlasting (dalm). It also occurs in cases 

139 "And what could make thee conceive what that [abyss] will be? A Fire..." 

140 "whoever does what is just and right, [does so] for his own good..." 

141 whoever does evil, [his evil deeds] will be borne by him." 

142 "And they say, tables of ancient times..." 

143 They answered : [This is one of] the most involved and confusing of dreams..." 

144 "[lt is a triumph of ] those who turn [unto God] in repentance, and worship and praise [Him]..." 

145 "[they are] deaf, [they are] dumb, [they are] blind..." 

146 "Let it not deceive you that those bent on denying the truth seem able to do as they please on 
earth: this is but a brief moment..." 

147 "...they had dwelt [on earth] no longer than an [earthly] hour; [this is Our] message." 

148 "A chapter which We have bestowed from on high..." 

149 "...its fruits will be everlasting, and [so too] its shade." 


where the elision may apply to the subject or the predicate, as in the verse: "fa sabr 
jamil" 150 (12:18) which when recontigured may either mean 'is most beautitul" (aijmal), 
or 'my lot is patience' (fa amrlsabr). Another example is the verse: "fa tahrlr raqabat" 151 
(4:92) which when recontigured would include (the omitted predicate) 'on him' (^alaihi), 
or (the omitted subject) 'a duty upon him" (fa 1-wajib). 

d-The elision of the noun of the adjective, as in: "wa 'indahum qasirat 'l-jart" 152 (37:48) 
that is 'virgins' (hur) with modest gaze. Also: "an i'mal sabighat" 153 when reconfigured 
reads: 'long coats of mail (durWun sabighat). And the verse: "ayyuha '1-mu'minun" 154 
(24:31)which refers to a 'community of believers' (1-qaum 1-mu'minun). 
e-The elision of the adjective, as in: "ya'khudhu kulla safinat" 155 (18:79), that is, every 
sound boat (salihatin). Proof that this is the case cormes from the fact that it has also 
been recited in this manner, and the fact that the words: "an talbaha" 156 does not 
disqualify it being a boat. Another example is the verse: 'aPan ji'ta bi 'l-haqq" 157 (2:71), 
which must refer to the manifest truth, or they would have denied its implications. Finally 
in the verse: "fa la nuqlmu lahum yaum 'l-qiyarmat waznan" 158 (18:105) the elision is 
positive value (nafi'an). 

150 "...But [as for myselt,] patience in adversity is most goodly. . ." 

151 "...there is a duty of treeing a slave..." 

152 "And with them will be mates of modest gaze..." 

153 ". . .to manufacture long (coats of mail)." 

154 "0 you Believers..." 

155 "...seize every boat..." 

15S ". . .in order to damage it. . ." 

157 "...At last thou hast brought out the truth!..." 

158 "...We shall not assign to them any value on Resurrection Day." 


f-The elision of one part of a conjunctive phrase, as in: "an idrib bi 'asaka 'l-hajr; fa 
infalaq" 159 (26:63) where the missing words are: 'so he did strike, and it split asunder!' 
The conjunction 'waw' appears alongside the causative 'lam' either because the cause 
is omitted, as in the verse: "wa liyubliya '1-mu'minlna minhu bala'an hasanan" 160 (8:17) 
Reconfigured, this would read: "out of kindness to the believers.". Or because it is a 
conjunction for some other hidden cause which has been included in order to validate 
the conjunction. The verse in question would then read: "fa'ala dhalika li yudhiqa 'L- 
kafirin ba'sahu wa liyubliya. . ." or "He did so in order to test the disbelievers with His 
wrath. . ." 

g-The elision of both the subject and object of the conjunction, as is the case in the 
verse: "la yastawi minkum man anfaqa min qabl 'l-fath wa qatala 161 (57:10). When 
reconfigured this verse would include 'and those who spent thereafter' (wa man anfaqa 
badahu). Another example is the verse:"bi yadika 'l-khair" 162 (3:26) which when 
reconfigured would read: 'and all evil' (i/i/a 1-sharr) 

h-The elision of the second noun of an appositional substantive, as in the verse: "wa la 
taqulu lima tasifu alsinatukum 'l-kadhib." 163 (16:116) Here the pronoun 'hu' attached to 
the verb 'tasitu' is omitted with the word 'alkadhib' acting as its apposition. 

159 "...Strike the sea with thy staff! It then splits asunder..." 

160 "...and [He did all this] in order that He might test the believers by a goodly test...' 

161 "...Not equal are those who spent and tought [in God's cause] betore the Victory 

162 "...ln Thy hand is all good..." 

163 "Hence, do not utter talsehoods by letting your tongues determine. . 


h-The elision of the active participle is not permissible except if it is the active participle 
of a verbal noun. This is so for example, in the verse, "la yas'am 'l-insan min du'a'i 'I- 
khair" 164 (41:49) that is, 'of his asking' (min dualhi). Kasa'i however allows this without 
qualification, citing as evidence the verse, "idha balaghat 'l-taraqiya" 165 (75:26) where 
the elision is 'his soul' (1-ruh). Another example is the verse, "hatta tawarat bi 'l-hijab" 166 
(38:32), that is, 'the sun' (1-shams). 

i-The elision of the object: as mentioned previously, this occurs often with objects that 
signity intention. But it does appear elsewhere as well, as is evident from the verse: 
"inna alladhlna ittakhadhu 'l-'ijl" 167 (7:152) where the elision is: 'as a god' (ilahan). And 
in the verse: "kalla saufa ta'lamun" 168 (102:3) it is 'the consecquences of your actions' 
(^a~qibatu amrikum). 

j-The elision of the circumstantial phrase appears frequently in the form of a statement. 
An example is the verse: "wa '1-mala'ikatu yadkhuluna 'alaihim min kulli bab; salarm" 169 
(13:23,24) that is, "they will be saying" (qa1lm). 

k-The elision of the noun in the vocative form, as in: "alla yasjudu" 170 (27:25) that is, O! 
These people! Also: "Ya laita! 171 (28:79) that is, O! People! 
The antecedents are elided in four circumstances: 

l-As a relative pronoun, as in: "a hadha alladhl ba^atha Allahu rasul" (25:41), that is, 
'God has sent h\m'(ba^athahu). 

164 "Man never tires of asking for the good [things of life]..." 

165 "...when comes up to the throat [of a dying man]..." 

166 "...until hidden bytheveil . . ." 

167 "Verily, as for those who have taken to worshipping the calf. . ." 

168 "Nay, in time you will come to understand!" 

169 "...and the angels will come unto them from every gate. . . peace..." 

170 " that they ought not to prostrate. . ." 

171 "...Oh, if we but had..." 


j-As an adjective, as in: "wa ittaqu yauman la tajzi natsun 'an nafs" 172 (2:48), that is, 'on 
that day'(fihi). 

172 "and remain conscious of [the coming of] a Day when no human being shall in the least avail 


k-As a predicate, as in: "wa kullan wa^ada Allahu 'l-husna" 173 (4:95), that is, 'God has 

promised hirm' (waadahu). 

The Elision of the Hal 

The Hal or condition is omitted as tollows: 

• the elision of the subject of the word riCma as in the verse "Inna wajadnahu 
sabiran nPma 'l-'abdu" 174 (38:44) where the name Job is elided. In the verse: "Fa 
qaddarna; fa nPma 'l-qadirun" 175 (77:23), where the word 'us' is elided. And in the 
verse: wa la nPrma dar 'l-muttaqln" 176 (16:30) the word 'heaven' is elided. 

• the elision of the conjunctive noun: In the verse: "amanna bi alladhl 'unzila ilaina 
wa 'unzila ilaikum" 177 (2:126) the words 'and that which was sent down to you' is 
elided, because that which was sent down to us is not the same as that which 
was sent down to those before us. It is for this reason that the word ma is 
repeated in the verse: "armanna bi Allahi wa ma 'unzila ilaina wa ma 'unzila ila 
Ibrahim" 178 (2:126) 

The Elision of the Verb 



.Unto each has God promised the ultimate good..." 

.for, verily, We found him full of patience in adversity; how wonderful a servant. 

175 "Thus we determined [the nature of man's creation]: and excellent indeed are those who 

176 .". . .How excellent indeed will be the abode of the God-conscious " 

177 , 

"We bring faith in that which was sent down to us and to you" 

178 "We bring faith in God and that which was sent down to us and that (ma) which was sent down 
to Abraham." 


Several examples of the omitted verb exist in cases where it plays an explanatory 
role. These include the tollowing verses: "wa in ahad min 'l-mushrikin istajaraka. . 
." 179 (9:6); "idha '1-sama'u inshaqqat" 180 (84:l); and "qul lau antum tamlikuna" 181 (17:100). 
The verb is also often omitted when it serves as the main clause of an interrogatory 
statement. One example is the verse: "wa qila li alladhina ittaqau madha anzala 
rabbukum qalu khairan". 182 (16:30) where the word 'anzala is elided. More common 
however, is the elision of the verb qala, as in the verse: "wa qila li alladhina armanu 
rmadha anzala rabbukum; qalu khairan" 183 (2:127), where the words yaqula~n rabbana\s 
elided. Abu Yala has said: "The omission of the word qala from human speech is rare, 
but there's nothing wrong with it." 

It does however, occur in other circumstances as well, as is clear from the 
following examples: In the verse: "intahau khairan lakum" 184 (4:171) the words wa itau 
is elided. In "walladhina tabawwa'a 'l-dar wa 'l-irman" 185 (59:9) the words: wa alfu 1-lman 
'they found faith' or Ctaqdu 'they believed' are elided. In "'uskun anta wa zaujuka 'I- 
jannat" 186 (2:35) the words: wa 1i yaskun zaujuka 'let your wife live as well' is elided. In 
"wa imra'atuhu hammalat 1-hatab" 187 (107:3) the word: adhamm 'even more blame 

179 "And if any of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God seeks thy protection, grant him 
protection. . ." 

180 "When the sky is split asunder. . ." 

181 "Say: lf you were to own all the treasure-houses. . ." 

182 "But [when] those who are conscious of God are asked, "What is it that your Sustainer has 
bestowed from on high ?" they answer: 'goodness'. . ." 

183 "And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the Temple, "O our 


.Desist [from this assertion] for your own good..." 

185 „ Anc | p t w j|| De f Qr tne p 00r Trom amon g] those who, before them, had their abode in this world, 
and in faith..." 

186 "...dwell thou and thy wife in this garden..." 

187 "As for his wife, the carrier of firewood. . ." 


worthy' is elided. In "wa 'l-muqlmln 1-salat" 188 (4:162) the word amdahu 'I commend' is 
elided. And in "wa lakin rasiil Allah" 189 (33:40) the wrd kana "he had been" is omitted. 
Another verse is: "wa inna kullan lamma . . ." 190 (11:111) the word yuluamalahum 
(requite their deeds) is omitted. 
The Elision of the Particle 

In the work 1-Muhtasib Ibn Jinni had this to say: "Abu 'Ali intormed us that Abu Bakr 
said: The elision of the particle is not based on analogical deduction, because particles 
themselves are used to abridge speech. Thus omitting the particle is tantamount to 
summarizing a summary and thus obliterating it. The following are examples: 

...and those who are [especially] constant in prayer..." 

189 "...but he is God's Apostle..." 

190 « Anc | verily, unto each and all will thy Sustainer give their full due for whatever [good or evi[ 
they may have done..." 


1-The elision of the interrogative hamza in the verse: "sawa'un 'alaihim andhartahum. . 
," 191 (2:6). Another example is the verse "hadha rabbi" 192 (6:76) in all three its 
occurrences. Another, is the elision of the particle a wa in the verse 'wa tilka nPrmat 
tamunnuha. . ," 193 (26:22) 

2-The elision of the noun represented by a particle in an adjectival phrase: Ibn 'l-Malik 
said: 'This is not permissible except in the case of the particle an in the verse: "Wa min 
ayatihi (an) yurikum 'l-barq. . ," 194 (30:24) 

191 "It matters not whether you warn them." 

192 "ThisismyLord!" 

193 "And this is that past favor whereby you reproach me." 

194 "And of His signs is His showing you the lightning. " 


3- The elision of the preposition is common where the words an and anna appear, as in: 
"yamunnuna 'alaika (li) an aslarmu, qul la tamunnu 'alayya islamakum; bal Allahu 
yamunnu 'alaikum an hadakum" 195 (49:17) Another example is: "atrma^u (li) an yaghtira li. 
. ." 196 (26:82); and also: "aya^idukum (bi) annakum" 197 (23:35). The elision also occurs 
with other words as in "qaddarna (la)hu manazila 198 (114:39); wa yabghuna (la)ha 
^iwaja" 199 (7:45); "yukhawwitu (kum) (bi) auliya'ahu" 200 (7:17); "wa ikhtara Moosa (min) 
qaumahu" 201 (7:155); and "wa la ta zimu fala) ^uqdatun 1-nikah" 202 (2:235) 
6-The elision of the conjunction: 'l-Farisl provides the tollowing examples: "wa la 'ala 
alladhina idha ma atauka li tahmilahum; (wa) qulta la ajidu rma ahmilukum 'alaihi 
tawallau" 203 (9:94) Another verse is: "(wa) wajuh yauma'idhin na^imat" 204 (88:8) because 
it is conjoined to: "wujuh yauma'idh khashi^at" 205 (88:2) 

7-The elision of the particle fa that expresses the effects of an antecedent.'l-Akhfash 
provides this example: "In taraka khair 'l-wasiyyatu li 'l-walidain" 206 (2:180) 

195 "They make their surrender a favor unto you; Say: "Consider not your surrender unto me a favor. Rather 
it is God who has favored you by guiding you." 

196 "I am hopeful that He will forgive me." 

197 "Does he promise you that you. . ." 

198 "We have stipulated stations for it." 

199 "And they want it to be crooked." 

200 "He scares you with his Mends." 

201 "And from among his people Moses chose. . ." 

202 "And do not consummate the marriage." 

203 "Nor (is their blame) upon those who approached you to provide them with mounts (and) you 
said to them 'I can find nothing for you to ride; they then turned away (disappointed)" 

204 "Faces on that day will be resplendent." 

205 'faces on that day will be fearful." 

206 ". . .in the event that he leaves behind a substantial estate he ought to make a beguest to his 

parents. . ." 


8-The elision of the vocative particle is common, as in the verses: "Ha antum 'ula'i 207 
(3:119); "Yusuf a rid" 208 (12:29); "qala rabbi innl wahana Vazmu minni" 209 (19:4); "fatir 'I- 
samawat wa 'l-ard" 210 (6:14) Kirmani's work 1-A\a1b states that because the vocative 
implies a form of command, the particle ya of the word rabb is commonly omitted from 
the Qur'an out of respect and reverence. 

9- The elision of the particle qad in the past tense of a verb that acts as a condition: "au 
ja'ukum (qad) hasirat sudurukum" 211 (4:90); and: "a nu'minu laka wa (qad) ittaba^aka 'I- 
ardhalun" 212 (26:111) 

207„y ou jndeed^ are the ones. . ." 

208 "(O!) Yusuf, say no more about this! 

209 (O!) My lord! My bones have weakened. . ." 

210 (O!) Creator of the Heavens and the Earth! 

211 "...Or they come to you with their hearts shriveled. . ." 

212 "Should we believe in you whilst only the contemptible follow you 


10- The elision of the la of negation when it appears as the complement to an oath: 
This occurs when the object is in the imperfect form as in the verse: "Ta Allahi 
tafta'u" 213 (12:85) It does however, appear in other forms such as: "wa N ala alladhlna 
(la)yutlqunahu fidyatun" 214 (2: 184) that is, "those unable to bear the burden of fasting". 
And the verse: "wa alqa fi 'l-ard rawasiya (li'alla) an tamlda bikum" 215 (16:15) that is "so 
that it would not wobble". 

11- The elision of the introductory lam as in "wa in lam yantahu 'armrma yaquluna la 
yamassanna" 216 (5:73); and "wa in aja^tumuhum innakum la mushrikun" 217 (6:121) 
12-The elision of the imperative lam as in the verse: "qul li 'ibadi alladhlna armanu (li) 
yuqimu" 218 (31:14). 

13- Omisson of the lam of the particle laqad is preferred in lengthy statements such as: 

"(la) qad aflaha man zakkaha" 219 (9:91) 

14-The elision of the nun of emphasis as in the verse: "a lam nashrah" 220 (94:1) when 

nashraha is read in the subjunctive mood. 

15-The elision of the nunation as in the following subjunctive moods: "qul huwa Allah 

ahad (un). Allah 'l-samad" 221 (l:112) and "wa la 'l-lail sabiq(un) 'l-nahar" 222 (36:40) 

213 "By God! You will never stop mentioning Yusuf. . ." 

214 " . . .and for those (un)able to there is a a penance. . ." 

215 "And He put firm mountains on the earth lest it wobble with you" 

216 "And if they do not desist from their utterances. . .will befall" 

217 "And if you were to obey them, you too would be of the polytheists." 

218 "Tell those of my servants who believe that they ought to establish(prayer) 

219 "Successful is one who purifies his soul" 

220 "Did we not open. . ." 

221 "Say: 'He is God, the One (ahadu); God, the Uncaused!" 


.nor does the night overtake (sabiqu)the day" 


16-The elision of the plural nun which appears in the tollowing recitation: "wa rma hum bi 
darrl (in) bihi min ahad" 223 

17-The elision of the desinential intlections and the indeclinables as appears in the 
tollowing verses that are recited without the vowel endings: "fa tubu ila bar(i)kum" 224 
(2:54), "ya'mu(r)kum" 225 (2:67), "wa bu^ula(t)hunna ahaqq" 226 (2:227). Other examples 
are: "aw yaT(u) alladhi biyadihi uqdat 'l-nikah" 227 (2:237), "fa'uwar(i) sau^ata akhihi" 
228 (2:237), and "ma baq(i) min 'l-riba" 229 (5:31). 
The Elision of More than a Single Word 

1-The elision of two nouns in the genitive form, as in the verse "Fa innaha min taqwa 'I- 
qulub" 230 (22:32) which when reconfigured would read: fa inna ta^zlmahamin afal dhawl 
taqwa 1-qulub. In the verse: "Fa qabadtu qabdatan min athar 'l-rasul." 231 (20:96) the 
words omitted are halir faras after the word athar. And in the verse "taduru a^yunuhum 
ka alladhi yughsha 'alaihi min 'l-maut" 232 (33:19) the words ka dauran ^ain alladhi are 
omitted after the word ayunuhum. And finally, in the verse "wa taj^aluna rizqakum" 233 
(56:82) the words badal shukr are omitted after the word tafaluna. 

223 "Nor will they cause anyone any harm thereby." 

224 "Turn in repentance to your Sustainer." 

225 "He commands you." 

226 "And their own husbands have more right." 

227 "Or he in whose hands is the marital contract agrees to forego. 

228 ". . .to hide the dead body of his brother." 

229 ". . .what remains of the interest." 

230 "Such is the piety of the heart.' 

231 "I then took some dust from the hoof of the messenger." 

232 "Their eyes rolling like one being smothered by death." 

233 "And making your provisions." 


In the verse: "Fa kana qaba qausain" 234 (53:9) tollowing the word kana, three 
nouns of the genitive construction miqdar masalata rabbihi mithla have been elided. 
Thus three subjects and one predicate of kana have been omitted. 
2-The elision of the two objects of the zanna category: In the verse "ayna shuraka^i 
alladhina kuntum taz'umun" 235 (28:22) following the word taz'umun the words hum 
sharakal have been omitted. 

3-The elision of the preposition and the word governed by it: In the verse: "khalaju 
'armalan salihan" 236 (9:102)the words bi sayy/'have been omitted. Similarly, in the verse 
"wa akhara sayyi'an" 237 the words bi salihin been omitted. 
The elision of the conjunction and the conjoined word has been examined above. 
4-The elision of the conditional particle and its verb: This generally occurs after some 
demand, as in the verse "Fa ittabi^unl yuhbibkum Allah" 238 (3:31) where the words in 
ittabatum' «n/have been omitted. In the verse "Qul li 'ibadl alladhina 'armanu yuqlmu 'I- 
salat" 239 (14:31) the words omitted are "in qulta lahum yuqlmu. Zamakhshari includes in 
this category the verse "fa lan yukhlifa Allah ^ahdahu" 240 (2:80) where the omitted words are: in 
ittakhazhtum IndAUah ^ahd fa lan ukhalif Allahu 241 are omitted. Abu Hayyan includes herein 
the verse "Fa lima taqtuluna anbiya Allah min qabl" 242 (2:91) where the words :in kuntum 
amantum bima umila ilaykum fa lima taqtuluha 243 are omitted 

234 "At a distance of two bows length." 

235 "Where then are my partners that you so allege." 

236 "They mixed a good deed. . ." 

237 ". . .with another that was evil." 

238 "Then follow me, and God will love you." 

239 "Tell my servants who believe that they ought to establish prayer. 

240 "Then God will never renege on His covenant." 

241 "If you take the covenant with God then God will never renege on His covenant" 

242 "Why then did you previously slay the apostles of God!" 

243 "If it is that you believe in that which was sent to you then why do you slay. . ." 


5-The elisionof the apodosis as in the following cases. 

• "Fa in istaja^ta an tabtaghi nafaqan fi '1-ard au sullaman fi 'l-sama'(fa ifal) " 244 (6:35) 

• "wa idha qila lahum ittaqu ma baina aydikum wa ma khalfakum la^allakum turhamun 
(a Yado)." 245 (36:45) This is suggested by the verse that follows. 

• "'a 'in dhukkirtum ( la tatayyartum) " 246 (36: 19) 

• "wa lau ji'na bi mithlihl madadan (la nafida)" 247 (18:109) 

• "wa lau tara idh '1-mujrimuna nakisu ru'usihim (la ra 'aita amran fazfan)" 248 (32:12) 

• "wa laula fadl Allah ^alaikum wa rahmatuhu wa anna Allah ra'uf -1-rahim (la 
^adhdhabakum)" 249 (24:20) 

• "lau la an rabatna ^ala qalbiha (la abdat bihi)" 250 (28:10) 

• "wa lau la rijal mu'minun wa nisa' mu'minat lam talamuhum an taja'uhum (la sallapkum 
*ala ahl Makka)" 251 (48:25) 

244l If you are able to find a tunnel on earth or a ladder to the sky (then do so)" 

245 "And when they are told: 'Beware the calamities at hand and those that have come to pass so that you 
may be shown mercy; (they turn away)" 

246 "When you are admonished (you call that an evil omen)" 

247 "Even if We aided it with something similar (it would have been exhausted)." 

248 "And if only you had seen the sinners with their heads hung low in the presence of their Lord (then surely 
you would have seen something horrid)" 

249 "If it was not for God's Grace and Mercy on you and that God is Kind and MerciM (He would surely 
have punished you)" 

250 "Had We not fortified her heart (she would have divulged it)" 

251 "Had it not been for the believing men and believing women that you had not known and would therefore 
have slain (He would have given you control over Mecca)." 


6-The Elision of the nominal phrase of an oath as is the case with the opening statement "By 
God '{wa Allah) in the verse: " la 'u'adhdhibannahu ^adhaban shadldan" 252 (27: 21) Or the elision 
of the complement "you will most certainly be resurrected"(/a tub ^athunnd) after the following 
set of verses: "wa 'l-nazi x at gharqan. . ," 253 (79:1-5) And in the verse: "Sad! Wa '1-Qur'an dhi '1- 
dhikr" 254 (38:l)the words "it is indeed immitable" (innah u la mu*jiz) have been omitted. And 
finally, in the verse: "Qaf! Wa '1-Qur'an '1-majid" 255 (50:1) the words "things are not as they 
claim" (ma i- 'amr kama za*amu) have been omitted. 

7-The elision of the causative sentence, as in the verse: 256 "li yuhiqqa 'l-haqq wa yubjila '1- 
bajila."(8: 8) where the words "He did what He did"(fcfcz/cz mafa*ala) have been omitted. 
8-The elision of several sentences, as is the case between the verse: "fa arsilun. Yusuf ayyuha '1- 
siddiq" 257 (12:46) Here, the following statements have been omitted: "I ask that you dispatch me 
to Yusuf that I may obtain an interpretation of the dream.' He then appraoched him and said: O! 
Yusuf! 258 Conclusion 

252 "I will most certainly inflict on him a grievous punishment." 
253 "By the pluckers of souls violently. . .and fulfil the behest" 
254 "Sad! By the Qur'an, vested with loftiness! 

255 "Qaf! By the Glorious Qur'an!" 

256 ". . .to establish the truth and invalidate evil" 

257 "Thus, I ask that you dispatch me." and the verse "Yusuf! O! Attester to the truth!" 
25B "Fa arsilunTilaYusuf li asta^birahu l-ru'afa fa"alu. Fa atahu fa qala lahu: YaYusuf' 


In some cases nothing is substituted for the elision whilst in others some evidence does 
point to the elision. This is so in the verse: "Fa in tawallau fa qad ablaghtukum ma 'ursilta bihi 
ilaikum" 259 (ll:57) The apodosis is not the delivery of the message, for in reality, it precedes the 
turning away. The allusion here is that: "If you turn away, then its not my fault" {fa in tawallau 
fa la lauma ^alayya) that is, you have no excuses, for I have indeed, informed you". And in the 
verse: "wa in yukadhdhibuka fa qad kudhdhibat rusulun min qablika." 260 (35:4) Thus be not 
grieved, and exercise forbearance. And finally, in the verse: "wa in ya^udu fa qad madat sunnat 
'l-awwalln" 261 (8:38) That is, the same punishment will afflict them as did those before them. 
Kinds of Prolixities 

Just as in the case of brevity the distinction was made between abridgement and elision, 
so too, a similar distinction is made in the case of prolixity between commentary and addition. 
Prolixity through Commentary 

The first is prolixity through multiple sentences, as in the statement of the Almighty 
which appears as several verses in the chapter, 'l-Baqara: "Inna fi khalq '1-samawat wa '1-ard. . 
„262 ^2:164) Great prolixity has been used because denizens of the Heavens as well as the earth, 
are being addressed, the intelligentsia among them, as well as the ignorant, those that is, who 
accept as well as those who feign acceptance, in every epoch and period. In the verse: "alladhina 
yahmiluna 'Karsha wa man haulahu yusabbihuna bi hamdi rabbihim wa yu'minuna 
bihi" 263 (40:7) the words "yu 'minuna bihi" are superfluous because the faith system of the throne 
bearers is well known. But its explicit mention has both enhanced the virtue of faith, and 
encouraged it. Another example is the verse: "wa wail li '1-mushrikina alladhina la yu'tuna '1- 

259 "Now, if you turn away, then (know that) I have conveyed to you what I was commissioned to." 

260 "If they give the lie to you, then (know) that they have also given the lie to the Messengers prior to you" 

261 "But if they persist then (we know their punishment) from those before them" 

262 "Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth. . ." 

263 "Those who bear the Throne, and those around , extol their Sustaner's limitless praises and have faith in 



zakat" 264 ((41:6) Whilst no polytheist pays the zakat this has nonetheless, been characterized as 

one of his attributes in order to encourage the believers to comply and to warn against 


Prolixity through Addition 

There are several forms of this 2 nd category. The first is when one or more particles that 
lend stress to the statement are included. Reference has already been made to particles of stress 
in the general discussion on particles. 

The particles include: inna, anna, the dative lam, the oath, the 'ala used as an opening 
statement, amma, ha for caution, ka 'anna for stress in a simile, lakinna to stress emendation, \aita 
to stress hope, la ^alla to stress expectation, the circumstantial pronoun, the pronoun of 
separation, amma to stress a condition, qad, the letters sih and saufa, the two nuns that stress an 
action, the absoMng la, lan, and lamma to stress a negative. Where the addressee is in denial or 
in doubt emphasis by way of the foregoing devices is recommended. 

"Woe unto those polytheists who withhold the payment of zakat" 


The emphasis will vary depending on the strength of the denial or its weakness. Thus we 
find in the following verse where Christ's disciples were firstly rejected: "inna ilaikum 
mursalun" 265 (36:14) emphasis is added by way of the particle anna and the use of a nominal 
sentence structure. In the second instance, after the addressee's strongly stressed: "Ma antum illa 
bashar mithluna wa ma anzala '1-rahman min shay' in antum illa takdhibun" 266 (36:15) the 
response: "qalu rabbuna yalamu inna ilaikum la mursalun" 267 (36:16) is equally stressed by way 
of an oath, inna, lam, and a nominal sentence. 


We are indeed messengers unto. 

266 "You are no more than human beings like us and the Beneticent has revealed nothing unto you; you are 
no more than liars! ! " 

267 "They said: 'Our Lord knows that we are indeed messengers unto you" 


These particles may also be used for emphasis in cases where the addressee does not 
deny the assertion, because the statement itself does not lead to its logical consequence. This is 
why he is considered a denier. On the other hand, the emphasis may be omitted even where the 
addressee is in denial because it is accompanied by irrefutable evidence that will, on close 
scrutiny, prompt a retraction. It is in this light that the statement of the Almighty appears: 
"thumma innakum ba^da dhalika la mayyitun; thumma innakum yaum 'l-qiyamat tub^athun" 
268 (23:15) Death is stressed twice even if it is not denied, because the addressees, in their 
unmindfulness, have been reduced to the level of those who deny death. And despite its strong 
rejection only a single particle is used to stress resurrection because, given the irrefutable 
evidence of its occurrence, it was befitting that it not be denied. Thus the deniers were treated as 
believers in order to encourage open inquiry into the clear evidence provided. This is so in the 
statement of the Almighty: "la raiba flh" 269 (2:2) The particle la is used to negate all doubt 
although there are many who are in doubt. But, based on the clear evidence that banishes doubt, 
the misgivings of the skeptics were reduced to nought, in the same way that denial was reduced 
to non-denial. 

Zamakhshari has said: "Death, which is man's ultimate destiny, has been stressed not 
once, but thrice so that it remains his primary focus of attention, and that he not cease pondering 
over it. This is because his pursuit of this world is relentless, as if he will exist herein eternally. 
The verse on resurrection however, has only been emphasized by way of the particle inna 
because it is presented in such an irrefutable manner, that it can neither be contested, nor 

268. „ jhus, after all this you are earmarked for death; and thus, on the day of Resurrection you will be raised 
from the dead." 

269 "There is no doubt whatsoever, therein!" 


Taj b. '1-Farkah said: "Death is emphasised as a rebuttal to the views of the atheists who 
maintain that the human species is immortal. And the emphasis on the Resurrection was 
dispensed with on this occasion because of its it is stress elsewhere, in several places, together 
with a rebuttal of those who deny it. An example is the verse; "qul bala wa rabbi la 
tub^athunna" 270 (64:7) Another scholar has said that because the particle lam appears up front, 
followed by the conjunction that necessitates a union of the two parts of the sentence, the need 
for another lam is obviated. On occasion it~the lam that is-is used for emphasis for one whose 
curiosity is piqued because of an allusion to a matter that he has a prior interest in. This is so in 
the verse: wa la tukhajibnl fi alladhina zalamu" 271 (11:37) which implies, 'do not appeal to me. 
O! Noah! On behalf of your people." This statement simply alludes to the message and merely 
intimates that they deserve punishment. The addressees, therefore, are unclear at this point, 
about whether their f ate in this regard was sealed or not. Thus, it was emphasized in response 
that : "They are indeed, drowned!" The same is true for the verse: "O! Mankind! Be conscious of 
your Lord. . ." (22:1) The enjoining of God consciousness, the appearance of its signs, and the 
punishement in the hereafter f or its abandonment, caused the minds of the addressees to become 
curious about the nature of the Last Hour. In response, and to emphasize its inevitability, He 
says: 272 Inna zalzalat '1-sa'at shay'un x azim" (22:1) to emphasize its inevitability. In similar vein 
is the verse: "wa ma 'ubarri'u nafsi" 273 (12:53) which puts the addressee in this quandary: How is 
it that the speaker, whose character is beyond reproach and unimpeachable, and who is known to 
have never indulged in evil, how is he unable to exonerate himself ! In response, and by way of 
confirmation, the following verse states: "inna 'l-nafs la 'ammaratun bi '1-su" 274 (12:53) 

On occasion, stress is laid in order to offer encouragement, as in: "fa taba "alaih; innahu 

270 "Say! Verily, By my Lord! You will indeed, be resurrected." 

271 "Do not petition me about those who have been unjust." 
272 "Indeed, the convulsions of the Hour will be a mammoth event!' 
273 "I do not exonerate myself. . ." 
274 "Man's soul is certainly prone to evil!" 


huwa '1-tawwab '1-rahim" 275 (2:37) Here, four particles of emphasis are used to lay stress, and to 
encourage the servants of God to beg for forgiveness. In section 40 mention has already been 
made of the particles of emphasis, their meanings, and their occurrences. 

Using inna and lam together in a single verse is tantamount to restating the verse thrice. 
This is because inna as such doubles the verse, and when the lam is also added it triples. It is 
reported from Kisa'i that the lam serves to stress the predicate and inna to stress the subject. But 
there is some exaggeration here because the emphasis is on the relationship and not on the 
subject or the predicate. Similarly, the doubled nuh of emphasis implies a triple occurrence of 
the verb, while the single nun implies a double occurrence of the verb. Sibawayh said: "In words 
such as "yaayyuha" the alif and the ha are joined to ayya for emphasis; the latter, so to speak, is 
restated twice, and the noun is then for notification." Zamakhshari concurs with him. 

'He thus forgave him; and He is indeed, one who forgives repeatedly." 


Also, in the work Nazm 'l-Qur 'an, Jurjani says with regard to the verse: "wa yaqul '1- 
insan 'a idha mittu la saufa 'ukhraju hayyan" 276 (19:66) that the lam herein is not for emphasis, 
for the statement is a negation. How can one emphasize a negation! Rather, this is a report from 
the Prophet (s) with the particle of emphasis. The verse was therefore revealed accordingly. 
2) Prolixity through the Use of Additional Letters 

Ibn Jinni has said: "Every letter added to a statement by Arabs serves to double the 
frequency of that statement. In his old work i-Kashshaf Zamakhshari has said: "The particle ba 
in usage with ma and laisa as part of the predicate, emphasizes the negative, just as the lam 
emphasizes the affirmative. 

On being asked about the merit of using a particle for emphasis given that its elision 
takes nothing away from the meaning itself, one scholar replied: "This is something known to 
those who have a sense for such things; they are able to glean intimations through these particles 
that would otherwise have remained concealed. This is analogous to the sense possessed by one 
with ability to determine the meters of poetry, who would object to any change by omission in a 
verse. He then comments: "I find myself missing that repose which I would otherwise have 
enjoyed had the meter been maintained. In the same way, the elision of these particles have a 
tendency to alter the mood of someone with a penchant for them, and he thus finds himself 
reacting in different ways to their elision or inclusion. 

Also, additions to particles and to verbs are infrequent, while additions to nouns are even 
less so. The following particles, as already explained in the section on particles, are subject to 
additions: in, an, idh, idha, ila, amm, ba', fa', fi, kaf, lam, la, ma, min, and waw. As for verbs, 
kana and asbaha, as illustrated by the following examples take additions: "Kaifa nukallimu man 
kana fl '1-mahd sabiyya" 277 (19:29) and "fa asbahu khasirin" 278 (5:53) Rummani explains that one 
who suffers an affliction that worsens at night hopes for relief in the morning. But in the 
previous verse the verb 'asbaha 'was used because their loss was suffered (in the morning) at a 

276 "And man will say 'What! Will I be brought back to life after I have Died!" 
277 "How are we to address one who is no more than a child in a cradle.!" 
278 "And they became losers." 


time when relief is hoped for; this therefore is not a case of prolixity." 

As for the nouns, most grammarians are of the opinion that they do not take additions, 
but exegetes have on occasion, spoken of such prolixities. An example is the word mithl in the 
verse "Fa in amanu bimithl ma amantum bihi" 279 (2: 137) The word bimithl 'is a prolix form of 

3-Emphasis by Way of Compound Statements 
Of these there are four types: 

1-Allegorical stress, where words such as kull, ajma \ kila, kilta, etc. are used. An example is the 
verse: "fa sajada '1-mala'ikatu kulluhum ajma x un"((2:137) Such statements are used to remove 
doubts created by allegorical speech and to include that which is not explicitly included. Farra' 
asserts that kulluhum serves the foregoing purpose in the verse in question but that the word 
ajma^un serves to clarify that the angels prostrated together and not individually. 

279 "If they believed in that in which we believed. . ." 


2-Literal stress: This, in the first place, refers to the repetition of the first word by way of a 
simile. Examples are: "dayyiqan ha(ri)jan" 280 (6:125), and "gharabib sud" 281 (35:27) Saffar 
includes the verse "fi ma in makkannakum fihi" 282 (46:26) in this category because both (ma and 
in) are negations. One other scholar includes the verse: "qila irjTu wara'akum fa iltamisu nur" 283 
(57:13) where the word warah is not an adverb but a gerund having the same meaning as irjfu . 
Thus the verse, according to him, would mean, " irjfu, irjVu." 


Closed and restricted. . . " 

281, Very black. 

282 ". . .with that wherewith we had not established you." 
283 "It shall be said: 'Return to the rear, and seek light!" 


Secondly, it refers to the repetition of the first word, by way of itself . This may apply to a 
noun, a verb, a particle, or even a complete sentence. The noun appears in verses such as: 
"qawarlira, qawarlra" 284 (74:16), and "dakkan, dakkan" 285 (89: 21), the verb, in: "fa mahhil '1- 
Kafirin amhilhum" 286 (86:17), a gerund, in: "hayhata hayhata lima tiTadun" 287 (23:36); a 
particle, in: "fa fi '1-jannati khalidina fiha" 288 (23:36), and "a yaldukum annakum idha mittum 
wa kuntum turaban wa ^idhaman annakum. . ," 289 (23:35); and a whole sentence, in: "fa inna ma"a 
'Kusri yusran; inna ma"a 'Kusri yusran" 290 (94:6). It is preferable, in the latter case however, that 
the repetition be by way of the conjunction thumma, as in the verse "wa ma adraka ma yaum '1- 
din; thumma ma adraka ma yaum '1-din" 291 (35:17) and "kalla saufa talamun; thumma kalla 
saufa talamun" 292 (102:3) Also in this category is stress by way of the pronominal suffix to a 
detached pronoun as in: "uskun anta wa zaujuka '1-jannat" 293 (2:35), "fa idhhab anta wa rabbuka. 
. ." 294 (5:24), and "wa imma an nakuna nahnu 'l-mulqin" 295 (7:115) Stress also occurs in the form 
of a detached pronoun appearing twice, as in "Wa hum bi '1-akhirati hum kafirun" 296 (12:37) 


Crystal cups! Crystal cups!" 

285 "Powder! Powder!" 


Give the disbelievers a respite! Deal gently with them!" 

287 "Far! Very Far, is that which you have been promised." 

288 "And in Heaven! In it will they reside eternally." 

289 "Does he promise you that when you die and turn to dust and bones, that . . ." 

290 "For surely, with hardship goeth ease; For surely with hardship goeth ease." 

291 "And what will inform you of the Day of Reckoning! Then, what will inform you of the Day of 

292 "Nay! You will surely come to know. Nay! You will surely come to know." 

293 "Reside! You and your spouse, in Heaven." 

294 "Go! You and your Lord." 

295 ". . .or shall we have the first throw." 

296 "And it is in the Hereafter that they disbelieve." 


3-Stressing the verb by way of its infinitive, which obviates the need to repeat such a verb, and 
removes any doubt of an allegory in the verb. This, as Ibn x Usfur and others have indicated, is in 
contrast to the previous case, where doubt because of the existence of an allegory in the 
predicate was addressed. On this basis some Ahl i-Sunna scholars have rebutted Mu x tazilite 
denials of the 'conversation' in the verse: "wa kallama Allahu Musa takliman." 297 (4:164) being 
literal. The stress takljman in the foregoing verse removes the allegory from the verb, just as is 
the case with the verses: "Wa sallimu taslima" 298 (33:56), Yauma tamur '1-Sama'maura wa tasir 
'1-jibal sairan" 299 (52:10) and "jaza'ukum jaza'an maufuran". 300 (17:63) 

The same however, is not true of the verse "Wa taiunnuna bi Allah iununa" 301 (33:10) 
because the word is in the plural form of the word zanna which itself has multiple meanings. As 
for the verse "Illa an yasha' rabbi shay'an" 302 (60:80) it is possible that the word shay'an stems 
from the verb, or from sha h, that is, a certain condition or state. 

The basic method in this category is to stress the object by providing the requisite 
adjective, as is the case in: "Udhkuru Allah dhikran kathlran" 303 (33:41) and "Wa sarrihuhunna 
sarahan jamilan" 304 (33:49) At times however, the stress is rolled into a genitive construction with 
the adjective, as in "Ittaqu Allah haqqa tuqatihi" 305 (3:109). At other times stress appears in the 
form of an infinitive of some other verb, or by way of a concrete noun substituting for an 
infinitive. Such is the case in the verse: "Wa tabattal ilaihi tabtila" 306 (73:8) where 'tabattul' is 

297 "And God spoke directly to Moses" 

298 "And salute him with a greeting." 

299 "On the day when the Sky will shake violently, and the mountains will move in a frightful manner.' 

300 "Your reward will be an ample one." 

301 "And you had misgivings about God." 

302 ""Except if my Lord was to will something." 

303 "And remember God, often." 

304 "And give them freedom, graciously." 

305 "Fear God as it behooves Him." 

306 "And devote yourself to Him in complete devotion." 


the infinitive of battala. In the verse "Wa Allah anbatakum min '1-ard nabatan" 307 (71:17) the 
word is 'inbatan' because "1-nabat' is a concrete noun. 

307 "And God produces you from the Earth, as creation. : 


4-Stressing by way of a circumstantial phrase: Examples are: "Wa yauma 'utf athu hayyan" 308 
(19:33); "Wa la ta^thau fi '1-ard mufsidin" 309 (2:60); "Wa arsalnaka li '1-nas rasulan" 310 (4:79); 
"Thumma tawallaitum illa qalilan minkum wa antum rmTridun" 311 (2:83); "Wa 'uzlifat '1-jannatu 
li 'l-muttaqin ghaira bald" 312 (50:31) Not included in this category is the verse "Walla 
mudbiran" 313 (27:10) because turning (tawliya) is not always away from something, as is clear 
from the verse: "Fa walli wajhaka shajr '1-masjid '1-haram" 314 (2:144). The same is true for the 
verse "Fa tabassama dahikan" 315 (27:19) because the act of smiling may be for reasons other than 
amusement. And the same is true for the verse "Wa huwa '1-Haqq musaddiqan" 316 (2:91) because 
the words 'l-haqq and musaddiqan mean two different things; the fact that something is true in 
itself does not mean that it is a testimony to that which appears prior to it. 
4) Repetition 

Contrary to the erroneous view shared by some, this form of prolixity is indeed more 
eloquent than the stress, and it is in fact a model of eloquence. It has several uses including: 
• Confirmation: It has been said that speech that is repeated tends to confirm. And the 

Almighty in the following verse, has called attention to the purpose of repeating the 
parables and the admonitions in the Qur'an: "wa sarrafna fihi min '1-wald kTallahum 
yattaqun au yuhdith lahum dhikran." 317 (20:113) Another objective of repetition is 

308 "On the day when I will be resurrected." 

309 "Do not act corruptly, making mischief on the Earth." 

310 "And We have sent you as a messenger to all mankind." 

311 "Then you back tracked, all but a few among you-you are back trackers." 

312 "And Heaven is drawn closer to the believers-it is not far off." 

313 "He turned in tlight." 

314 "tum thy face towards the Sacred Sanctuary" 

315 "So he smiled, amused." 


It is the truth, an affirmation." 

317 "And We have explained therein some of the admonishments so that they may take heed or that it may 
become a lesson for them." 



Bringing greater attention to that which removes censure, so that the message may be 
well received. An example is the verse: "wa qala alladhl amana ya qaum ittabi^uni 
ahdikum sabll '1-rashad. Ya qaum innama hadhihl '1-hayat '1-duniya mata'" 318 (40:38) The 
repetition of the vocative serves this purpose. 

In cases where the statement is lengthy and it is f eared that the first part thereof may be 
forgotten repetition occurs in order to freshen up and renew the idea. This is so in the 
following verses: "Thumma inna rabbaka li alladhina ^amilu '1-su'a bi jahalat thumma 
tabu min ba^di dhalika wa aslahu inna rabbaka min ba^di ha. . ." 319 (16:119); "Thumma 
inna rabbaka li alladhlna hajara min ba^di dhalika wa aslahu inna rabbaka min ba^diha. . 
." 320 (16:110); "Wa lamma ja'ahum kitabun min x ind Allah. . .fa lamma ja'ahum ma x arafu 
kafaru bihi" 321 (2:89); "La tahsabanna alladhlna yafrahuna bima atau wa yuhibbuna an 
yuhmadu bima lam yaf x alu fa la tahsabannahum bi mafazatin min 'Kadhab" 322 (3:188); 
and "Inni ra'aitu ahada ^ashara kaukaban wa '1-shamsa wa 'l-qamara ra'aituhum. . 
," 323 (12:4) 

318 "And he who brought faith said: O! People! Follow me and I will lead you to the rightly guided path! O! 
People! The life of this world is but a temporary delight!" 

319 "Then your Lord, with regard to those who unknowingly indulged in evil then repented and made 
amends-your Lord thereafter. . ." 

320 "Then your Lord, with regard to those who migrated after being persecuted, and who then strived and 
endured-your Lord thereafter. . ." 

321 "And when the Book from God came to them. . . and when that which they recognized came to them, 
they denied it." 

322 "Consider not those who revel in their deeds, and love to be extolled for deeds they had not 
performed-consider them not rescued from torment." 

323 "I see eleven stars and the sun and the moon, I see them. . ." 


• To glorify or terrify as in the following verses, '"l-haaqqatu ma 'l-haaqqatu. . ." 324 (69:1), 
"'1-Qari^atu, ma '1-Qarfatu. . ," 325 (101:1) and "Ashab 'l-yamln ma ashab '1- 
yamin" 326 (56:27). To those who say that this does not constitute a separate category but 
rather, belongs to the previous one because it shows emphasis through repetition, I would 
say that it is similar in ways and dissimilar in others. It is also less than the previous 
category in some ways and more, in others. This is why it belongs to a separate category. 
Stress, as was indicated previously, may or may not be by way of repetition. 
Furthermore, repetition may be for stress, but it may also serve an aesthetic purpose 
whilst stressing meaning. 

• To act as a break between two objects that are repeated. Thus the verses: "Ittaqu Allah 
waltaniur nafsun ma qaddamat li ghad wa ittaqu Allah" 327 (59:18) and "inna Allah 
istafaki wa Jahharaki wa istafaki x ala nisa' 'Kalamin." 328 (3:42) Because the stress never 
separates from its object these two verses are considered instances of repetition and not 
word stress. The previous verses are also considered similarly where repetition occurred 
because of length. 

• To show multiple semantical connections ( i-Tardld): where there are a multiplicity of 
objects such that the first repeated word is different from the second, and so on. 

In the following verse tardid occurs in four places: "Allah nur '1-samawat wa '1-ard; 
mathalu nurihi ka mishkat fiha misbah; '1-misbah fi 'l-zujaja; 'l-zujajat ka annaha kaukab durriyy. 
. ." 329 (24:35) Some have included in this category the verse:"Fa bi ayyi ala'i rabbikuma 

324 "The Reality; What is the Reality! 

325 "The striking Hour; What is the striking Hour!" 

326 "The companions of the right. Who are the companions of the Right!" 

327 "Fear God; and let each soul be mindful of what it dispatches for the morrow; and fear God." 

328 "God has indeed chosen you, cleansed you , and chosen you over the women of all the worlds." 

329 "God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. The parable of His Light is that of a niche within which 
is a lamp; the lamp is encased in crystal; the crystal is like a luminous star." 


tukadhdhiban" 330 (55:13,16. . .) which while appearing some thirty odd times, appears each time 
in a diff erent context. Every word of stress is related to its own context, and this is why the 
same word appears more than thrice. In keeping with the rules governing stress, as explained by 
Ibn x Abd '1-Salam and others, if these verses referred to the same thing then the stress should not 
have appeared more than thrice. In cases where the repetition is not indicative of a bounty, even 
the warning of some impending calamity is a bounty. 

330 "Now, which of the bounties of your Lord will you deny! 


But some ask what possible bounty could exist in a verse such as: "kullu man ^alaiha 
fan" 331 (55:26) ! Several suggestions have been proffered, the best being that it underscores flight 
from this abode of grief to the abode of felicity. It also serves to deliver the believer and the 
virtuous from the ingrate. The same is true for the verse: "wail yauma'idhin li '1- 
mukadhdhibln" 332 (77:24) because the Almighty mentions various parables each of which 
conludes with this verse. It is as if He is saying after every parable: "Woe, on that day, unto the 
one who denies this particular parable." The same is true for the following verse of the chapter, 
i-Shu ^ara': "Inna fi dhalika la ayat wa ma kana aktharuhum mu'minln; wa inna rabbaka la huwa 
'Kaziz 'l-rahim" 333 (26:8) which recurs after each parable, eight times in total. The allusion in 
each case is to the parable of a prophet mentioned immediately prior to the verse in question, and 
to the wisdom and signs inherent in that parable. But this part of the verse: "wa ma kana 
akthruhum mu'minin" 334 applies only to the people of that prophet only. Given its sense that only 
a small proportion of his people believed, the attributes 1-\iz and 'l-rahim have been invoked, to 
show that might will be used against those who did not believe in him and mercy will be 
showered on those who did believe. The same is true for the verse: "Wa laqad yassarna '1-Qur'an 
li '1-dhikr fa hal min muddakir" 335 (54:17) Zamakhsari said: These verses admonish each time 
they are heard, and warn that each of those instances was justified by its peculiar circumstances. 
The following appears in the work ^Arus 1-Afrah: If the intent in each of the aforementioned 
examples is to explain the antecedents, then surely this would not be prolixity, but rather words, 
each designed to convey a meaning different from the other! I would respond that on the 
principle that consideration should always be given to the tenor of the word, then every word, 
despite the context, contains a general meaning, but it is repeated nonetheless, to be explicit in 

331 "A11 therein are bound to perish" 

332 "Woe on that Day unto those who deny the truth!" 

333 "There is indeed in that a sign, but most of them were not believers. And your Lord is Mighty, and 

334 "But most of them were not believers." 

335 "We have indeed simplified the Qur'an for purposes of recall; is there therefore, someone who will 


the succeeding context and implicit in all other contexts. It may be said however, that this 
implies emphasis (which should not be repeated more than thrice). I would agree; but this rule 
does not apply except in cases where the emphasis is consecutive. But invoking a thing in 
various places more than thrice, is not thereby, excluded.' 

Similar to this are the examples mentioned by Ibn Jarir in the following statements of the 
Almighty: "Wa li Allah ma fi '1-Samawat wa ma fl '1-ard; wa la qad wassaina. . .wa kana Allah 
ghaniyyan hamidan" and "Wa li Allah ma fl '1-samawat wa ma fl '1-ard, wa kafa bi Allah 
wakllan" 336 (4:132) As to why the words "wa li Allah ma fi '1-samawat wa ma fi '1-ard" in these 
two verses, need repetition, one after the other, I would ascribe this to the differences in the 
information pertaining to the Heavens and the Earth. In the first case their dependence on their 
Creator and His self sufficiency are stressed, and in the second, it is the Creator's protection 
(hifz) of them, His knowledge of them, and His management (tadbHr) of them that are stressed. 
To the objection that nowhere in the verses "wa kana Allah ghaniyyan hamldan; wa kafabi 
Allah wakĔa" do the words tadbir and hifz appear, we would respond that this is equally true of 
the first verse, where no such justification for the usage of words such 'protector' and 'controller' 
appear. The Almighty has said: "Wa inna minhum la fariq yalwuna alsinatahum bi '1-kitab li 
tahsabuhu min '1-kitab wa ma huwa min '1-kitab" 337 (3:78) Raghib says: "The word kitab in the 
first instance, refers to that which they penned with their own hands, as evidenced in the 
statement of the Almighty : "Fa wail li alladhina yaktubuna '1-kitab bi aydihim" 338 (2:79) 
whereas the second kitab refers to the Torah, and the third, to the genus itself. God has penned 
all of it; that is, everything that belongs to the Books of God and His speech. Another example of 
something erroneously considered repetition is "Qul ya ayyuha 'l-kafirun. . .wa liya din" 
339 (109:1,2) The verse "la a^budu ma ta^buduna" refers to the future, whilst "wa la antum 

336 "And unto God belongs all that is in the Heavens and on earth; and We have recommended. . .And God is 
Self sufficient, Praiseworthy. And unto God belongs all that is in the Heavens and on earth; and God suffices as a 

337 "And among them is a group that contorts its tongue when reading the Book so that you may consider it 
part of the Book when in fact it is not part of the Book" 

338 "So woe unto those who pen the Book with their own hands" 

339 'Say! O! Ye Disbelievers! I do not worship that which you worship." 


^abiduna ma a^bud" refers to the present. Also, for the remainder of the chapter, "ma a^bud" 
refers to the future, "wa la ana ^abidun" to the present, "ma ^abadtum" to the past, "wa la antum 
^abiduna" to the future, and "ma a^bud" to the present. Thus, in sum, the purpose was to deny him 
ever worshiping their gods in all three tenses. 

The same is true for the verses: "Fa udhkuru Allah ^inda 'l-masff ar '1-haram wa 
'udhkuruhu kama hadakum" 340 (2:198) and "Fa idha qadaitum manasikakum fa udhkuru Allah ka 
dhikrikum aba'akum." 341 (2:200) and "Wa udhkuru Allah f! ayyam maMudat" 342 (2:203) The 
reference to "udhkurit is different in each case: the first refers to the liturgies during the stop at 
Quzah, in Muzdalifa. And the verse "Wa udhkuiuhu kama hadakum" is refers to the second and 
the third occasions. It is also possible, based on the verse that follows, "fa idha qadaytum" that 
this is a reference to the ifada circumambulation. The third 'dhikr' refers to the pelting of the 
'devils, and the final to the pelting on the days of tashriq. 

Another example is the particle of retraction in the verse "Bal qalu adghathu ahlam bal 
iftarahu bal huwa shiTir" 343 (21: 5) and the verse "Bal iddaraka llmuhum fi '1-akhirati bal hum fl 
shakk minha bal hum minha x amun" 344 (27:66) 

340 "So remember God at the 1-Mash^ar 1-Haram and remember Him as He has guided you." 

341 "And after you have completed your rituals remember God at the 1-Mash^ar 1-Haram." 

342 "And remember God during the designated days." 

343 "But they said: "Confused dreams; Nay! He has made them up; Nay! he is but a poet." 

344 "Nay! They have no knowledge of the Hereafter. Nay! They are in doubt about it! Nay! They are blind 
about it." 


Also in this category is the verse "Wa matti^uhunna x ala 'l-musn qadaruhu wa x ala '1- 
muqtiri qadaruhu mata^an bi 'l-maruf haqqan x ala 'l-muhshiin" 345 (2:236) which is followed by 
the verse "Wa li 'l-rm4allaqati mata^an bi 'l-ma x ruf haqqan x ala 'l-muttaqin" 346 (2:241) The 
second was repeated to include all divorcees. The first verse is restricted to divorcees whose 
dowries have not been paid and whose marriages have not been consummated. Some say that 
this repetition is because the first verse gives no indication that giving is compulsory, which is 
why, when the verse was revealed, some of the Companions said: "If one so wishes he may give, 
or withhold." This is reported by Ibn Jarir. 

Also in this genre is the repetition of parables, such as the verse "Wa ma yastawi 'l-a x ma 
wa '1-basir wa la 'l-zulumat wa la '1-nur wa la 'l-zill wa la '1-haiur; wa ma yastawi '1-ahya' wa la 
'1-amwat" 347 (35:19) The same is true for the parable of the hypocrites who appear as the 
'stokers of fire' ( 'l-mustauqid naran) in the first section of the chapter i-Baqara, and later as 
those 'caught in the rainstorm' (ashab i-sayyib). The second, according to Zamakhshari is more 
apt, because it better clarifies the severity of their plight, their perplexity, and their 
bewilderment. This is why it was delayed, to show them stumbling gradually into greater 

Also in this category is the repetition of parables, such as those of Adam, Moses, Noah 
and other Prophets. Some scholars have said: "God has mentioned Moses in one hundred and 
twenty places in His Book. Ibn 'KArabi has said in the work i-QawMm: "God has mentioned 
the parable of Noah in twenty five verses and the parables of Moses in ninety verses." Badr b. 
JamiT ah has compiled a work that he named i-Muqtinas fifawaid Takrar i-Qisas, in which he 
mentions the following benefits of repeating parables: 
I. In every instance an addition, not appearing previously, is made, or for some reason new 

words are substituted for others; this indeed, is the style of the eloquent ones. 

345 "And indulge them with some gift: the rich according to his means, and the poor according to his means; 
a gift that is reasonable, which the righteous consider a duty." 

346 And for divorced women there must be reasonable maintenance, which the righteous consider a duty." 

347 "The blind and the seeing are not equal, and so too, the darkness and the light, and the shade and the heat 
of the sun; the living and the dead are also not equal." 


II. If the parables were not repeated then the story of Moses would have remained peculiar 
to one community only and that of Jesus to some other community. This is equally true 
for all other parables because an individual who happened to listen to one such story 
from the Qur x an would return to his people whilst some other individual would thereafter 
migrate taking with him what had been revealed after his predecessors had gone. God 
wanted all to share in these parables, so that some would be informed by them, whilst 
others could gain greater counsel. 

III. The presentation of one speech in several forms and in different styles clearly points to 
much eloquence. 

IV. Parables are repeated and not rules, because the wisdom and inspiration generated by the 
presence of but one rule are immense whilst the same is not true of parables. 

V. God Almighty revealed this Qur'an, and people were incapable of duplicating it, in 
whatever form they chose. He then further clarified their incapacity by repeating the 
parable in different places, as a declaration that that they were incapable of duplicating it 
in any of its forms. 

VI. The Almighty challenged them by saying: "Bring forth a chapter like unto it"(2:23). If 
therefore, a parable was to have been mentioned only once, then some bedouin could 
very well have demanded that God Himself produce a chapter that is similar. Thus the 
Almighty revealed a multitude of chapters in every possible f orm, in anticipation of their 

VII. The words of a parable that is repeated are increased or decreased, advanced or retarded, 
and they appear differently in every context. This serves to accentuate the singularly 
unique derivation of one meaning from multiple contexts such that the soul, which is so 
naturally disposed to relishing variety and freshness, is induced to listening attentively. It 
also serves to underscore the specialty of the Qur'an in being able to repeat things 
without misusing any word or causing weariness. This is in stark contrast to the speech of 
all creatures. 

In response to the query as to the wisdom of not repeating the parable of Joseph, but 
rather of presenting it in a single illustration as opposed to all other parables, it may be said that: 


1. The parable contains the Airtatious conduct of women, and the condition of a single 
woman along with others besotted by the beauty of the most resplendent human being. In 
order to conceal and look past such behavior it was required that the parable not be 
repeated. Also, a tradition exists, authenticated by '1-Hakim in his work 'l-Mustadrak, 
forbidding the teaching of the Joseph chapter to women. 

2. As opposed to parables which culminate calamitously, such as that of Satan, and that of 
the People of Noah, Hud, Salih and others, the parable of Joseph is unique in that 
hardship is followed by ease. Because of this peculiarity there was reason to narrate this 
parable such that it stood apart from all other parables. 

3. The master, Abu Ishaq '1-Fara'inl has said: "God has repeated the parables of the other 
apostles but narrated the parable of Joseph in a single illustration in order to stress the 
incapacity of the Arabs. It is as if the Prophet (s) was saying to them: "If this is my own 
contrivance, then do with the Joseph chapter what I have done with all the other 

4. I would say that a fourth explanation comes to mind, one that is supported by '1-Hakim in 
his work 'l-Mustadrak. It is that the Joseph chapter was revealed in response to the 
request of the Companions for a parable. The chapter was then revealed to fit the 
description of a parable: it was complete, in detail, and it had recreational value for them. 

5. This, the most convincing of all explanations, states that the parables of the Apostles 
recur because the objective is to serve notice of the destruction of those who falsified 
their Messengers. Circumstances necessitated this repetition because of the repeated 
falsification of the Prophet (s) by the Meccan pagans. Each time they falsified a parable 
was revealed warning them of impending doom, as had been the fate of those who had 
previously falsified. It is for this reason that God Almighty has said in several verses that: 
". . .the examples of previous generations have come to pass."(8:38); and "Have they not 
seen how many communities before them We had destroyed." (6:6) But the parable of 
Joseph was not meant to serve this purpose." 

This also serves as a response as to why the parables pertaining to the Companions of the 
Cave, the Two Horned One, Moses with the Green One ( i-Khidr), and the Sacrifice, have not 


been repeated. But what of the parable of the birth of John and Jesus which appears twice and 
does not fit the foregoing profile! The first, I would say, is Meccan, appears in the chapter kafha 
ya ^ain sad, and was revealed to address the people of Mecca.The second, however is Medinan, 
and was revealed to address the Jews and the Christians of Najran when they came to Medina. It 
is for this reason that the said parable is accompanied by the dispute and the challenge ( '/- 
5-The Adjective 

This occurs for several reasons. 

I. To specify the indefinite noun, as in the verse: "Fa tahrir raqabat mu'minat" 348 

II. To clarify or add meaning to the definite noun, as in: "wa rasulihl '1-nabiyy '1- 
'ummiyy." 349 

III. To praise and acclaim. The attributes of God fall into this category. Examples are: "Bi 
ism Allah '1-Rahman '1-Rahim; '1-Hamd li Allah rabb 'Kalimln; '1-rahman '1-rahim; malik 
yaum 'l-din" 350 (l:l) "Huwa Allah '1-Khaliq '1-Bari'u '1-Musawwir." 351 (59:24) Also in this 
category is the verse: "yahkumu biha '1-nabiyyuna alladhina aslamu." 352 This description 
serves to praise, to show the loftiness of Islam, to expose the Jews as being far removed 
from the community of Islam, the religion of all the aposties. This was said by '1- 

IV. To rebuke, as in: "Fa istaldh bi Allah" 353 (16:98) 

348 Then a believing slave should be set free." 


And His Messenger, the unlettered Apostle." 

350 "In the name of God, the Beneficent, the MerciM. All praise to God, the Lord of the Universe. The 
Beneficent, the MerciM. Master of the Day of Reckoning" 

351 "He is God! The Creator, the Inventor, the Bestower. . ." 

352 ". . .by which the submitting Apostles judged. . ." 

353 "Then seek refuge in God." 


V. To remove ambiguity, as in: "La tattakhidhu ilahain ithnain" 354 (6:51) The word ilahain is 
in the dual form, and so the word ithnain (two) that follows is an adjective designed to 
stress the prohibition against shirk (ascribing partners to God). It also indicates that the 
prohibition against taking two gods is simply because they are two, and not because they 
are helpless, and so on. When the concept of oneness is used without restriction it is 
meant to indicate the species. This is the equivalent of the Prophet (s) saying: "The Banu 
'1-Muttalib and I are one." When used without restriction it negates quantity, as does the 
usage of the dual form. If instead, only latattakhdu ilahain was used then there may 
have been the suspicion that the prohibition was against the taking of two separate 
species as gods, and not the taking of multiple gods from the same species. It is for this 
reason that the verse: "Innama huwa ilah wahid" 355 (6:19) stresses oneness. But what of 
the verse: "Fa in kanata ithnatain." 356 (4:176) where the word kanata itself indicates two, 
and ithnatain by way of commentary, thus, does not serve as added explanation. 'L- 
Akhfash and '1-Farisl respond that it serves to simply underscore the number, and not to 
serve as an adjective. It was also possible to have used adjectives to convey that: "if they 
are small, or big, or good etc, but ithnatain shows that the share for two heirs hinges on 
them being two. The use of the dual pronoun would not have served the same function. It 
has also been said that the idea was to use the lowest number as in the statement: "If they 
are two or more. . ." which would then automatically include all higher numbers. This is 
similar to the verse: "Fa in lam yakuna rajulain" 357 (2:282) The preferable view is that the 
pronoun refers to two witnesses without any restrictions. Another example of an attribute 
of stress is the verse: "wa la ta'ir yatlru bi janahaihi." 358 (6:38) where the word yatHr, 
emphasizes the literal use of the word fair; the latter term is also used figuratively to 


Take not two gods." 

355 "He is indeed but one God." 

356 "And if they happen to be two." 

357 "And if there are not available two men. . ." 

358 "Nor any bird flying around with its two wings" 


other things. Also, the word bijanahaihi is used to emphasize actual tlying, because it is 
sometimes used to refer metaphorically to the harshness of the enemy or to a quickness in 
walking. In like vein is the verse: "yaquluna bi alsinatihim" 359 (48:ll) because, as is clear 
from the following verse, the word qaul is also used metaphorically to other than the 
tongue: "wa yaquluna bi anfusihim" 360 (58:8) The same is true for the verse: "wa lakin 
ta^ma 'l-qulub allatl fi '1-sudur" 361 because the word heart is used metaphorically to refer 
to the eye, just as the eye is used to refer to the heart. This is the case in the verse: 
"alladhina kanat a^yunuhum fi ghija' x an dhikri." 362 


A general adjective never appears after one that is specific. Thus instead of saying; 
"rajul fasih mutakallim one says instead: rajul mutakallim fasih. This rule is however 
problematic in the case of Ismall in the verse: "wa kana rasulan nabiyyan" (19:51) In response it 
has been said that this was a circumstantial phrase and not an adjective. In other words, he was 
entrusted with the message whilst being a prophet. Examples pertaining to this category have 
appeared in the category of words that are advanced and retarded. 

In cases where the adjective appears after an idafa construction where the first word is a 
number it is permissible to attach the adjective to the first or the second part of the construction. 
An example of the first is the verse: 'sab^a samawat tibaqan" 363 (67:3) and an example of the 
second is: "Sab^a baqarat siman" 364 

In cases where several adjectives apply to a single individual it is best that they be 

359 "They say with their tongues." 

360 "They say to themselves." 

361 "But it is the hearts in the bosoms that grow blind." 

362 "Those whose eyes have been under covers from Our remembrance." 

363 "The seven Heavens, one above the other." 

364« r< r . ii 

Seven tat cows. 


separated by way of a conjunction. An example is: "Huwa '1-awwal wa '1-akhir wa 'l-zahir wa '1- 
batin" 365 (57:3) In other cases, it is best that it be omitted. An example is: "wa la tujr kulla hallaf 
mahin; hammazin mashsha'in bi namim; manmTin li '1-khair rmf tadin athim; ^utullin ba^da 
dhalika zanlm" 366 (68: 10-13) 

Where praise and censure occur it is more eloquent to alternate the word inflections. 'L- 
Farisl has said: "Where the adjectives appear in the context of praise and censure it is best that 
their inflections differ." Because the situation requires prolixity, and because words which vary 
tend to be more variegated and more versatile, varying inflections provide a more complete 
objective. Uniformity leads to a singularity of meaning." 

"He is the First, and the Last, the Outer and the Inner." 

366 "Then follow not every no-good oath monger, every slanderer going about casting calumnies, every 
stumbling block to good, every transgressor, malefactor, greedy, illegitimate. 


An example where praise is used is the verse: "wa '1-mu'minuna yu'minuna bima 'unzila 
ilaika wa ma 'unzila min qablika wa 'l-muqimina '1-salat wa '1-mu'tuna 'l-zakat." 367 (4:162) and 
the verse: "wa lakinna '1-birra man amana bi Allah. . .wa 'l-maufuna bi ^ahdihim idha ^ahadu wa 
'1-sabhin" 368 An exceptional recitation of the verse "'1-hamd li Allah rabb 'Kalimin" 369 with 
rabb in the accusative and the nominative cases as well. An example where censure is used is the 
verse: "wa imra^atuhu hammalat 'l-hajab" 370 (111:4) 
6-The Substitution 

The objective of the substitution is to clarify an ambiguity. And it serves to explain and 
to emphasize. As for the former, it is clear that when you say: ra 'aitu Zaidan akhaka (I saw Zaid, 
your brother) you mean Zaid, the brother, and none other. As for the latter, however, it repeats 
the regent, as if belonging to two sentences, with the second alluding to the same thing as the 
first. This occurs either by way of congruency, which puts it into the category of the complete 
substitution (badal 'l-kull), or by way of incorporation, which puts it in the category of the 
partial substitution (badal 'l-ba \f), or by way of necessity, which puts it in the category of the 
inclusive substitution (badal 'l-ishtimal) 

367 "And the Believers believe in that which was revealed to you and to those belore you and they establish 
prayer and give the alms tax." 

368 "But virtue is to believe in God. . . and those who abide by covenants when these are made, and those 
who persevere." 

3S9 "A11 Praise is to God the Lord of the worlds." 

370 "And his wife, the wood carrier." 


Examples of the first are: "ihdina '1-siraJ 'l-mustaqim; siraj alladhina an^amta 
x alaihim." 371 (l:6-7); "wa innaka la tahdl ila siraj mustaqim; sirat Allah" 372 (42:52); and "la 
nasfa x an bi '1-nasiyat; nasiyat kadhibat khajrat" 373 

Examples of the second are: "wa li Allah x ala '1-nas hijj '1-bait man ista$jfa ilaihi 
sabila." 374 (2:96); and "wa laula daf Allah '1-nas baMahum bi baM." 375 (2:251) 

Examples of the third are: "wa ma ansanihu illa 'l-shayjan an adhkurahu" 376 (1863); 
"yas'alunaka x an '1-shahr '1-haram qitalin fihi; qul qital fihi kabir." 377 (2:217); "qutila ashab '1- 
'ukhdud; '1-nar." 378 (85:5); and "la ]Valna liman yakfuru bi '1-rahman li buyutihim..." 379 

371 "Guide us to the straight path, the path of those that You have shown your bounty to." 

372 "That you are guiding to the straight path, the path of God." 

373 "We will certainly take hold of him by his forelocks; sinful, deceitful forelocks." 

374 "And mankind, those who are by the means, are duty-bound to God to perform the pilgrimage." 

375 "If God did not keep one set of people in check by way of another. . . ' 

376 "And no one but Satan caused me to forget to mention it." 

377 "They ask you about fighting in the sacred months; say: 'Tighting therein is a grave offense." 

378 "May the companions of the trench perish; a Fire. . ." 

379 "And We shall prepare for those who disavow the Beneficent, for their homes. . ." 


Some have included in this category the complete substitution f or the partial, of which I 
was able to find one example in the Qur'an, in the form of :the verse: "yadkhulun '1-jannata wa la 
yuilamuna shay'an; jannatu x adn." 380 (19:60-61) The words jannat ^adn is a partial substitution 
iorjannat, and it serves to confirm that there several heavens and not just one. Ibn '1-Sayyid has 
said: "Not every substitution serves to remove some ambiguity found in the word for which it is 
substituted. Some substitutions are meant to stress, even if the word before it needs no stress. An 
example is the verse: "wa innaka la tahdi ila sirat mustaqim; sirat Allah." 381 (42:52) Do you not 
see that if the second sirat was not mentioned no one would have doubted that the sirat mustaqm\ 
is the 'path of God'! Slbawayh has written that some substitutions serve only to stress." Ibn x Abd 
'1-Salam has included the verse: "wa idh qala Ibrahim li ablhi Azar" 382 (6:74) in this category and 
said: "The substitution does not clarify because the word 'ab is not confused with anyone else. In 
response it has been said that the term also applies to the grandfather, and to show therefore, that 
the word was used literally, a substitution was provided. 
7-The Explanatory Apposition (Aff i-Bayan) 

It acts like an adjective in providing clarification, but is different, in that a specific word 
is used to clarify. In contrast, the adjective is used to point to a meaning inherent in the word 
before it. And in making the distinction between the adjective and the substitution Ibn Kaisan 
asserts that the substitution is the actual objective, which was simply confirmed by the word for 
which it was substituted (mubdal minhu) But both the explanatory apposition and the 
conjunction are specifically intended. In the work Sharh i-Kafiya Ibn Malik had this to say: "The 
explanatory apposition functions like the adjective in complementing the word before it, but is 
different in that it does so through commentary and explanation and not by pointing to a meaning 
inherent in the preceding word or by a way of causation. And it functions as an emphasis by 
strengthening its meaning, but is different in that it does not remove the sense of the allegorical. 
And it functions as a substitution in its ability to be independent, but is different in that it cannot 

380 "They shall enter Paradise, and be not wronged at all; the Garden of Eden. 
381 "That you are guiding to the straight path, the path of God." 
382 And recall Abraham saying to his father, Azar." 


be rejected. Examples are: "Fihi ayat bayyinat maqam Ibrahim" 383 (3:97) and "min shajarat 
mubarakat zaitunat" 384 (24:35) It sometimes appears, as in the verse: "jVala Allah 'l-ka x bat '1- 
haram" 385 (5:9) for reasons of tribute alone, and not clarification. The phrase 'l-bait i-haram 
therefore, is an apposition of tribute and not of explanation. 
8-The Apposition of One of the Synonyms on the Other 

383 "In it are signs, like the station of Abraham." 

384 "Of a blessed tree, an olive." 

385 "God has made the Kaaba, the Sacred Sanctuary. . ." 


Here also, the objective is emphasis. Included herein are the following verses: "Innama 
'ashku baththi wa huzni 386 (12: 86); "Fa ma wahanu lima asabahum fi sabil Allah wa ma 
da^ufu" 387 (3:146); "fa la yakhafu iulman wa la hadman" 388 (20:112); "La takhatu darakan wa la 
takhsha" 389 (20:77) "la tara fiha Mwajan wa la amta" 390 (20:107) '1-Khalil has said that the words 
Iwaj and amt have the same meaning. Also: "sirrahum wa najwahum" 391 (9:28) "shir^atan wa 
minhajan" 392 (5:48) "la tubqi wa la tadharr" 393 (74:28) "illa du^a'an wa nida'an" 394 (2:171) "a^na 
sadatana wa kubara'ana" 395 (33:67) "La yamassuna fiha nasab wa la yamassuna fiha 
lughub" 396 (35:35)Here the words nasab and laghab are similar in both form and meaning. Other 
verses are: "salawat min rabbihi wa rahmat." 397 (2:157) "^udhran au nudhran" 398 (77:6) According 
to Thalab both these words mean the same thing. 

'L-Mubarrad denies the existence of this genre in the Qur'an, and interprets the foregoing 
words as having different meanings. And one scholar has said: "One solution is to consider these 
words together as having a meaning which would not otherwise have obtained if viewed 
individually. It is thus the construction that engenders added meaning. And just as multiple 

386 "I complain of my sorrow and grief only to God." 

387 "They lost not courage by what had befallen them in the Path of God, nor did they weaken." 

388 ". . .he shall not have to fear injustice or loss of reward" 

389 ". . .and fear not being overtaken, or being afraid." 

390 "You will see neither crookedness therein, nor curvature." 

391 'Their secrets and their private counsels" 

392 "A law and a clear path." 

393 "It spares not, nor does it leave whole. 

394 "But calls out and cries." 

395 "We followed our leaders and the important ones among us." 

396 "Will not touch us therein. . ." 

397 Blessings from his Lord, as well as Mercy." 

398 "To cut off excuses or to admonish." 


words provide additional meaning so too is the case with additional letters." 
9- The Apposition of a Specific Word on a General 

It serves to underscore its merit, as if to say that the word in question is not part of the 
general category. thus categorizing the qualitative variation as tantamount to a variation in 
essence. Abu Hayyan quotes his master Abu Ja x far b. '1-Zubair as saying: "This kind of 
apposition is called stripping (tajrTd) because it is as if the word has been stripped from the 
sentence and singled out for special mention. Examples of this are: "hafizu ^ala '1-salawat wa '1- 
salat 'l-wuspi" 399 (2:238) "man kana ^aduwwan li Allah wa mala'ikatihl wa rusulihl wa jibrila wa 
mikala" 400 (2:157) "waltakun minkum 'ummatun yad^una ila '1-khair wa ya'muruna bi 'l-ma x ruf 
wa yanhauna x an 'l-munkar" 401 (3:104) "Wa alladhina yumassikuna bi '1-kitab wa aqamu '1- 
salata" 402 (7:170) The establishment of prayer is part of holding fast to the Book. This ritual 
comes in for special mention in order to underscore its lofty position as the very pillar of the 
faith. Gabriel and Michael are mentioned specifically as a rebuttal to the Jews and their 
animosity towards the former. Michael is mentioned jointly because he is the angel of food 
which is what sustains the body, just as Gabriel is the angel of revelation which is what sustains 
the hearts and souls. It has also been said that because Gabriel and Michael are the commanders 
of the angels they were not included in the word angels at the outset. This is like the commander 
of an army who is not specified as being in the army. Kirmani mentions this in the work 1- 

Also in this category are the verses: "Wa man ya^mal su'an au yailim nafsahu" 403 (4:110) 
"wa man ailamu minman iftara "ala Allah kadhiban au qala 'uhiya ilayya wa lam yuha ilaih 
shay'" 404 (6:93) With regard to the former verse, it is included on the premise that this kind of 

399 "Protect your prayers, and particularly the middle most one." 

400 "Whosoever is an enemy unto God and the angels, and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael. . ." 

401 "And let there be from among you one group that invites to the good, enjoining virtue and forbidding 

402 "Those who hold fast to the Book and establish prayer." 

403 "Whosoever does evil or is injurious to himself.. . " 

404 Who could be more unjust than one who utters falsehood against God, or who says that he has received 


apposition is not restricted to the conjunction waw. This is the view of Ibn Malik with regard to 
this verse as well as those before it. In the latter verse the conjunction is mentioned specifically 
in order to further underscore its reprehensibility. 

The words *am and khas here, refer to cases where the first statement incorporates the 
second, and not to the technical terms used in Jurisprudence. 
10-The Apposition of a General Word on a Specific 

revelation when in fact nothing at all has been revealed to him" 


Some have erroneously denied the existence of this category. Its purpose is clear, and that 
is, to generalize. The first statement is mentioned specifically in order to stress its stature. 
Examples hereof are: "inna salati wa nusuki" 405 (6:162) The word nusuk means worship, and it 
is thus general. Other verses are: "atayna sab^an min '1-mathani wa 'l-qur'an 'Kailm" 406 (15:87); 
"rabb ighfir H wa li walidayya wa li man dakhala baytiya mu'minan wa li 'l-mu'mihfn wa '1- 
mu'minat" 407 (71:28); "Fa inna Allah huwa maulahu wa jibrilu wa salihu '1-mu'minin wa '1- 
mala'ikatu baMa dhalika iahlr" 408 (66:4) 

Zamakhshari includes the verse: "wa man yudabbir 'l-'amr" 409 (10:31) which appears after the 
verse: "Qul man yarzuqukum" 410 (10:31) 
11-Clarity Following Opacity ( i-Idah ba ^da i-Ibham) 

The fraternity of rhetoricians say: "One adopts prolixity when wanting to obscure and 
then to clarify. This is useful in that it enables one to visualize the meaning in two separate 
modes: the clear and the opaque. Or it strengthens the effect on the psyche, because of its 
occurrence in response to a request. After all, knowing something through effort is more 
effective than knowing without effort. Or it serves to satisfy the desire for more knowledge. 
When the mind perceives any object from one perspective it longs to do so from the other 
perspectives as well. And when such knowledge of the other perspectives is gained gradually it 
is more satisfying than knowledge gained in a single instance." 

405 'Indeed my prayers and my sacriiices. . ." 

406 "We have been given the seven oft recited couplets and the noble Qur'an" 

407 "My Lord! Forgive me, and my parents and the one who enters my house in faith, and the believing men 
and the believing women." 

408 "Then it is God who is His Master, and so is Gabriel, and the virtuous believers, and the angels thereafter, 
in support." 

409 "And who administers the affairs." 

410 "Say: Who provides you with sustenance." 


Examples hereof are: "Rabbi ishrah H sadri" 411 (20:26) The word ishrah indicates a desire 
for an explanation about something, whilst sadri explains and clarifies what that is. The same is 
true for the verse: "wa yassir H amri" 412 (20:26) in that the situation to which he is being 
commissioned points to an encounter with hardship. The same is true for the verse: " X A lam 
nashrah laka sadraka" 413 (9:36) This position requires special emphasis because it is one of 
indebtedness and loftiness. The same is true of the verse: "wa qadaina ilaihi dhalika '1-amr anna 
dabira ha'ula'i maqfiT musbihln." 414 (15:66) 

411 "My Lord! Expand my bosom." 

412 "And felicitate my affairs." 

413 "Have We not expanded your bosom!" 

414 "And We informed him of that decree that the root of those sinners was to be cut off in the morning." 


Also in this category is the case of furnishing details after a condensed statement. An 
example is the verse: "inna ^iddat '1-shuhur ^inda Allah ithna ^ashara shahran. . .minha arba^at 
hurum." 415 (9:36) And the opposite of the foregoing, as in the verse: "thalathata ayyam fi '1-hajj 
wa sab^at idha rajVtum; tilka ^asharat kamilat." 416 (2:196) The word ^asharat is repeated to 
remove any doubt about the conjunction 'w3 meaning 'au' in which case the number three would 
be included in the number seven. This is so with the verse: "khalaqa 'Kard fi yaumain" after 
which appears: "wa jVala fiha rawasiya min fauqiha wa baraka fiha wa qaddara fiha aqwataha fi 
arba^at ayyam" 417 (41:10) Here the words "four days" include the "two days" of the previous 
verse, and are thereiore, not four separate days. This is the best explanation of the verse, one that 
Zamakhshari alluded to, Ibn x Abd '1-Salam gave preference to, and '1-Zamlakani confirmed in his 
work, Asrar i-TanzĔ. He said, "comparable to it is the verse: "wa wa^adna Musa thalathin 
lailatan wa atmamnaha bi ^ashar." 418 (7:142) It dispels the possibility that the "ten" is not part of 
the pledge." Ibn ^Askar has said: "The purpose of appointing thirty days first, followed by ten, 
was to kindle and then rekindle his anticipation of the end of the appointed period. He would 
thus be prepared, attentive, and single minded. If however, an appointment of forty days was 
made at the outset it would have been all the same to him, but because it was separated, his mind 
sensed how close the end was, and his resolve was renewed as never before. 

In the work i- ^Ajalb Kirmani has said that there are eight answers with regard to the 
verse: "tilka ^asharat kamilat." 419 (2:196): Two are from the exegesis, one from law, one from 
grammar, one from language, one from rhetoric, and two from arithmetic. I have arranged them 
in the work Asrar 1-Tanzil. 

The fraternity of rhetoricians say: "Where some statement contains ambiguity and 

415 "Verily, the tally of months with God is twelve. . .of them four are sacred" 

416 "Three days during the pilgrimage and seven days on your return; together they are ten" 

417 "And He inserted firmaments above it, and blessed it, and decreed its sustenance therein, all in four days" 

418 "And We appointed for Moses thirty days, and completed it with ten." 

419 "They were ten all together' 



another is added to remove the same and to provide added commentary. Examples are: 

• "Inna '1-insan khuliqa hahTan; idha massahu '1-sharr jaziTan wa idha massahu '1-khair 
manu x an." 420 (70:19-21) The statement idha massahu is commentary for the word halu as 
Abu 'KAliya and others have said. 

• "'1-Qayyum; la ta'khdhuhu sinat wa la naum." 421 (2:255) In the work Sharh i-Asma' 1- 
Husna 'Baihaqi has said that the statement lata khudhuhu sinat is commentary for the 
word i-qayyum. 

• "Yasumunakum su' 'l- x adhab; yudhabbihuna. . ." 422 (2:49) The statement yudhabbiAuna 
and what follows is commentary for the word yasum. 

420 "Man is certainly created impatient: when evil afflicts him he is discontented; and when good touches 
him he is niggardly" 

421 "The Self Standing Fount of all creation; neither sleep nor slumber. . ." 

422 "He afflicts you with the worst of punishments : he slaughters. . ." 


• "Inna mathala Tsa ^inda Allah ka mathal Adam; khalaqahu min turab. . ." 423 (3:59) The 
statement khalaqahu and what follows is commentary for the word mathal. 

• "La tattakhidhu "aduwwi wa "aduwwukum auliya'; tulquna ilaihim bi '1- 
mawaddat." 424 (60:l) The statement tulquna is commentary for "the taking of confidants". 

• "'1-Samad; lam yalid wa lam yulad. . ." 425 (112:2,3) Muhammad b. Ka^ab '1-Qurtubl has 
said: "The statement lam walid . . . is a commentary of the word i-samad. This appears 
frequently in the Qur'an. Because the commentary of a thing is attached to and 
complementary to it, and tantamount to being a part of it, it is deemed inappropriate to 
pause before such a statement. 

13-Placing an Overt Noun in the place of a Pronoun 

I came across s single publication in this regard, that of Ibn '1-Sa'igh. This genre has 

many uses, including: 

I. Added affirmation and fixation, as in the following verses: "Qul huwa Allah ahad; Allah 

'1-samad" 426 (112:1,2) Reconfigured, the verse would read: huwa i-samad. Other verses 
are: "wa bi 'l-haqq anzalnahu wa bi 'l-haqq nazal" 427 (17:5-10); "inna Allah la dhu fadl 
x ala '1-nas wa lakinna akthara '1-nas la yashkurun" 428 (40:61); "li tahsabuhu min '1-kitab wa 
ma huwa min '1-kitab; wa yaquluna huwa min x ind Allah wa ma huwa min x ind Allah" 
429 (3:78) 

423 "The nature of Jesus with God is like the nature of Adam: He created him of dust. . ." 

424 "Take not my enemy and your enemy as a confidant; showering affection on them. . ." 

425 ". . .the Prime Cause; He neither begets nor is He begotten." 

426 "Say: "He is the One God; God is the Prime Cause" 

427 "And it is in truth that We revealed it, and it is in truth that it came down" 

428 "God is indeed, The Munificent on men; but most men are not grateM" 

429 ". . .to consider it part of the Book, whilst it is not part of the Book and they say it is from God, but it is 
not from God." 


II. To exalt, as in the following verses: "wa ittaqu Allah wa yu^allimukum Allah; wa Allah 
bi kull shay' ^allm" 430 (2:282); " 'ula'ika hizb Allah ala inna hizb Allah hum 'l-muflihun" 
431 (58:22); "wa Qur'an 'l-fajr inna qur'an 'l-fajr kana mashhudan" 432 (17:78); "wa libas '1- 
taqwa; dhalika khair" 433 (7:26) 

III. To demean, as in the following verses: " 'ula'ika hizb 'l-shaijan; ala inna hizb 'l-shaijan 
hum 'l-khasiran" 434 (58:19); and: 'Inna '1-shaitan yanzaghu bainahum" 435 (17:53) 

IV. To remove doubt in cases where the pronoun gives the impression that it refers to other 
than the preceding noun.. Thus with regard to the verse: "qul allahumma malik '1-mulk 
tu'ti '1-mulk man tasha'" 436 (3:26) Ibn '1-Khashshab tells us that if tu tM were to be used 
instead then it would have wrongly suggested the previous word. In the verse: "'l-zannin 
bi Allah zann '1-sau; ^alaihim da'irat 'l-sau" 437 (48:6) if alaihim dairatuhuwere used 
instead then it would have wrongly suggested that the pronoun refers to God, Almighty. 
And the verse: "fa bada'a bi x au'iyatihim qabl wi x a'i akhih thumma istakhrajaha min 
wi x a'i akhih" 438 (12:76) does not say minhu lest the impression be given that the pronoun 
refers to the brother. This would then have wrongly suggested that Joseph had in fact 
wanted it to emerge from his bag, and this was not so. Intlicting injury is something that 
high minded souls would reject, and in order to reject this the overt noun was repeated. 
Also, the words min wi ^aihTwere not used lest the impression be created that the 

430 "And fear God, and God will teach you; for God is All Knowing of all things." 

431 "They are the partisans of God, and the partisans of God are indeed the successM ones." 

432 "And the recitation at dawn; verily, the recitation at dawn is witnessed." 

433 "And the raiment of piety; that indeed is the best." 

434 'They are the partisans of Satan; and the partisans of Satan are indeed, the losers." 

435 'Satan does indeed, instigate among them." 

436 "Say! O God! Custodian of all dominion; you give dominion. . ." 

437 "The thinkers who think evil thoughts about God; the circle of evil will be upon them." 

438 "He thus began with their satchels before his brother's satchel, and then extracted it from his brother's 



pronoun refers to Joseph. The pronoun that does refer to him is embedded in the words 

V. To inculcate awe, and to instil fear into the listener by invoking the name that would 
trigger that response. This is equivalent to one saying: "The Caliph, the Leader of the 
Faithful orders you to do so." In this category is the verse: "inna Allah ya'murukum an 
tu'addu '1-amanat ila ahliha" 439 (4:58), and the verse: "inna Allah ya'muru bi '1- 
^adl" 440 (16:90) 

VI. To strengthen the call for a prescribed performance, as is the case with the verse: "fa idha 
azamta fa tawakkal ^ala Allah; inna Allah yuhibb 'l-mutawakkilln" 441 (3:159) 

VII. To glorify an order, as with the following verses: "'a wa lam yarau kaifa yubdi'u Allah '1- 
khalq thumma yulduhu; inna dhaalika ^ala Allah yaslr" 442 (29:19); "Qul slru fi '1-ard fa 
'undhuru kaifa bada'a 'l-khalq" 443 (29:20); "Hal ata ^ala '1-insan hin min '1-dahr lam yakun 
shay'an madhkuran; inna khalaqna '1-insan. . ," 444 (76:1,2) 

VIII. To enjoy mentioning it, as in the verse: "wa aurathna '1-ard natabawwa'u min '1-jannat. . 
," 445 (39:74) where the words minha are not used. Thus, it turned away from the earth and 
towards paradise. 

IX. To get to the attributes of a particular overt noun. An example is the verse: "fa aminu bi 
Allah wa rasulihl '1-nabiyy 'l-'ummiyy alladhl yu'minu bi Allah" 446 (7:158) which appears 



439 "God does indeed, order you to deliver trusts to its rightM owners." 

440 "God does indeed, enjoin justice." 

441 "And after you have decided put your trust in God; God does indeed, love those who place their trust in 

442 "Have they not pondered how God initiates creation and then repeats it; these things are indeed, easy for 

443 "Say: "Crisscross the earth and take heed of how creation was initiated." 

444 "Has there ever come to man a moment in time when he was nothing to speak of ! We have created man. . 

445 "And made us inherit the earth; we can dwell in paradise. . ." 

446 "SO, believe in God and His messenger, the unlettered apostle who believes in God. . ." 


after the verse: "inni rasul Allah" It does not say fa aminubi Allah wa b/to allow 
mention of the attributes, and to make known that the person who must be believed and 
emulated is imbued with these attributes. If the pronoun was used this would not have 
been possible because it is not described. 

X. To stress the motivation for a rule, as in the case of the following verses: "fa baddala 
alladhina zalamu qaulan ghair alladhi qila lahum 447 (2:59); "fa anzalna ^ala alladhina 
zalamu rijzan" 448 (2:59); "fa inna Allah ^aduww li 'l-kafhin" 449 (2:58) In all these cases 
the verse did not say lahum to make known that whosoever is antagonistic towards these 
persons is a disbeliever, and that God is antagonistic towards him for his disbelief . Other 
examples are: "fa man azlama min man irtara x ala Allah kadhiban au kadhdhaba bi 
ayatihi; innahu la yuflihu '1-mujrimun" 450 (10:17); "wa alladhina yumassikuna bi '1-kitab 
wa aqamu '1-salat inna la nudfu ajr '1-muslihun" 451 (7:170); "inna alladhina amanu wa 
^amilu '1-salihat inna la nudi'u ajr man ahsana x amal"(18:30) 452 

XI. To generalize, as in the case of the verse: "wa ma 'ubarri'u nafsi; inna 'l-nafsa la 
ammaratun bi 'l-su'" 453 (12:53) Here the words innaha are not used lest it be implied that 
this applies specifically to his soul. Other examples are: "'ula'ika hum 'l-kafirun haqqan" 
454 (4:151) and: "wa a^tadna li 'l-kafirin ^adhaban" 455 (4:37) 

447 ""Those who were iniquitous changed the statement to one not told to them." 

448 "So, We sent down to those who were iniquitous a plague" 

449 "Then God is the enemy of the dibelievers." 

450 "Who is more unjust than one who imputes falsities to God who belies His signs; The sinners will surely 
not be successM": 

451 "As for those who hold fast to the Book and establish prayer, We will surely not let the reward of the 
virtuous come to nought. 

452 "Those who believe and do good deeds, We will certainly not let the reward of those who did good come 
to nought." 

453, I am certainly not exonerating my inner self for the inner self compels. . ." 

454 "They, in truth, are the disbelievers." 

455 "And for the disbelievers We have prepared a punishment." 


XII. To specify, as in the case of the verse: "wa imra'atan muslimatan in wahabat nafsaha li '1- 
nabiyy" 456 (33:50)The verse does not say laka to make clear that this applies exclusively 
to him. 

456 "As for a believing woman who offers herself inmarriage to the Apostle. . ." 


XIII. To allude to the fact that the rule pertaining to the previous statement does not apply in 
this case. Thus in the verse: "fa in yasha'i Allah yakhtim x ala qalbika wa yamhu Allah '1- 
bajil" 457 (42:24) the words wayamhu Allah indicate a fresh start, and are thus not 
governed by the condition. 

XIV. To show likeness, as in the verse: ". . .a^udhu bi rabb '1-nas. . ." 458 (114:1) This was 
mentioned by the master, Tzz '1-DTn. Ibn '1-Sa'igh illustrates this with the verse: "khalaqa 
'1-insan min x alaq" which is followed by the verses: "^allama '1-insan ma lam yaTam; 
kalla inna '1-insan la yatgha" 459 (65:2,5,6) In the first case the word insan refers to the 
species, in the second to Adam, or to the one who was taught to write, or to Idrls, and in 
the third case to Abu Jahl." 

XV. In deference to style and word usage. Some scholars have mentioned the following verse 
as an example: "An tadilla ihdahuma fa tudhakkira ihdahuma '1-ukhra" 460 (2:282) 

XVI. Where a pronoun which is absolutely necessary is assumed. An example is the verse: 
"ataya qaryat ista|'ama ahlaha" 461 (18:77) If instead, the words istafamahawere used it 
would not have been correct, because they had not requested food from the village. The 
same is true for istafamahum because the statement istafama\s an attribute of qaryat 
which is indefinite, and not of ahl. Thus, it is essential to have a pronoun that would refer 
to it, and that was only possible by explicitly mentioning the overt noun. This is how '1- 
Subuki explained this in his response to a question asked by '1-Salah '1-Safdl when he 

My Lord! Chief Justice at whose Appearance the sun and the moon turn bashful 

Whose hand, and whose pen on paper When bestowing, flow like two oceans merging 

457 "If God so wishes He can put a seal on your heart; but He effaces crookedness. . ." 

458 "I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind" 

459 "He created man from congealed blood. . . He teaches man that which he knew not; Nay! but man is 
indeed reprobate." 

460 "That if one forgot then one of them would remind the other." 

461 "They came to the people of a town and sought food from the people." 


And who, when issues are murky Illuminates them with an eternal luminescence 

I saw the Book of God, the greatest Miracle the best of guides in both the worlds 

Among its miracles is its economy of Words, filled with meaning 

But in the Cave I saw a verse whose Thought has for long has consumed me 

It is no more than 'istaf ama ahluha For which we find in istafamahum a parallel 

What then is the wisdom, and surely There is, in putting the overt noun for the pronoun 

Guide, as is your wont, my perplexity For when explaining it I lack the ability 


It is better to repeat the meaning of an overt noun than the actual word, as had been the 
case in the verse: "inna la nudfu ajr 'l-muslihln" 462 (7:171), and the verse: "Inna la nudfu ajr 
man ahsana ^amal" 463 (18:30) 

Also in this category is the verse: "ma yawadd alladhina kafaru min ahl '1-kitab wa la '1- 
mushrikin an yunazzala "alaikum min khair min rabbikum; wa Allah yakhtass bi rahmatihl man 
yasha'" 464 (2:105) It is appropriate that the descent of good be linked to the Sustainer (rabb) and 
the word Allah is repeated because singling out human beings as opposed to all others with the 
good is an aspect of divinity (uluhiyyat) This is because the ambit of being sustainer is broader. 

462 "We do not lose track of the rewards of those who enjoin the good." 
463 "We do not lose track of the rewards of those who do good deeds." 

464 "Those from among the People of the Book and the pagans who disbelieve like not that revelation come 
unto you in the form of good from your Lord; but God chooses those who are to receive His mercy." 


Also in this category is the verse: "'1-hamd li Allah alladhl khalaqa '1-samawat wa '1-ard. . 
.bi rabbihim ya^dilun." 465 (6:1) And because of its separation, its recurrence in the second verse 
is better than in the first. And using the overt noun instead of the pronoun after a delay is also 
better lest the mind be preoccupied in determining the object of the pronoun, in which case the 
beginning of the statement would be lost. This is so with the verse: "wa tilka hujjatuna ataynaha 
Ibrahlm x ala qaumihi" 466 (6:82) which appears after the verse: "wa idh qala Ibrahim li abihi 
Azar." 467 (6:74) 
14- Ighal or InTan (Diligence or Scrutiny) 

This is to complete a statement with a idea without which the statement itself will still be 
complete. Some scholars assert that this is a genre specific to poetry, but in rebuttal reference is 
made to the following verse in the Qur'an: "Ya Qaum! ittabi^u 'l-mursalln; ittabi^u man la 
yas'alukum ajran wa hum muhtadun" 468 (36:21,29) The statement wa hum muntadun is a case of 
Tghal because the meaning of the verse will be complete without it-after all, the Prophet (s) is 
undoubtedly a guide. But it contains a supertluous addition meant to encourage emulation of the 

Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" includes the verse "wa la tusmTu '1-summ 'l-du x a idha wallau mudbirin" 
469 (27:80) in this category because the words idhawallau mudbirTh is supertluous to the meaning 
of the verse. It stresses their inability to benefit. Words in the verse: "wa man ahsanu min Allah 
hukman li qaum yuqinun" 470 (5:55) are supertluous in praising the believers and alluding to the 
derogation of the Jews and to the fact that they are far removed from faith. In the verse: "innahu 
lahaqq mithl ma annakum tanjiqun" 471 (51:23) the words mithl mh~. . . are superfluous to the 

465 "A11 praise is due to God who created the Heavens and the Earth. . .assign partners to their Lord." 

466 "These are our arguments which We gave to Abraham against his people." 

467 "And remember Abraham saying to his father, Azar" 

468 "0! My People! Follow these messengers! Follow those who seek no compensation from you; those who 
are indeed rightly guided." 

469 "You will be unable to get the deaf to listen to the call, seeing that they turn and move away." 

470 "And who is better than God to rule over a community that believes." 


meaning and serve to stress this promise, and that its occurrence, of necessity, is known , and 

that no one doubts it. 

15-The Supplement ('1-Tadhyil) 

471 "This is the truth, just as is the fact that you can speak. 


This is to supplement one verse with another, with the second verse incorporating the 
meaning of the first in order to stress its wording or its sense. This serves to manifest its meaning 
to those who are unable o understand and to confirm it for those who do understand. Examples 
are: "dhalika jazaynahum bi ma kafaru wa hal nujazi illa 'l-kafur" 472 (34:17); "wa qul ja'a 'l-haqq 
wa zahaqa 'l-bajil inna 'l-bajil kana zahuqan" 473 (17:81); wa ma jValna li bashar min qablika '1- 
khuld; ^a fa in mata fa hum '1-khalidun" 474 (21:34); "kullu nafs dha'iqat '1-maut" 475 (3:185); "wa 
yaum 'l-qiyamat yakfurun bi shirkikum wa la yunabbi'uka mithl khabir" 476 (35:14) 
16-AU Round Scrutiny (1-Tard wa '1- Aks) 

'L-TIbi has said: "This is to use two statements, such that the wording in the first 
statement confirms the sense of the second and vice versa. This is the case in the verse: "li 
yasta'dhinakum alladhina malakat aymanukum wa alladhina yablughu '1-hulm minkum thalatha 
marrat. . .laisa ^alaikum wa la ^alaihim junah baMahunna." 477 (24:58) The stated requirement of 
seeking permission before entry during the specified times confirms the understanding that it is 
not required that permission be sought outside these times. And vice versa. The same is true for 
the verse: "la ya^sun Allah ma amarahum wa yaf alun ma yu'marun" 478 (66:6) This category has 
its parallel in the ihtibak type of brevity. 
17-Completion ('1-Takmil) 

472 "That was the requital We gave them because they disbelieved; And thus do We requite only the 

473 "And say: "The truth has come and falsehood is routed Falsehood is indeed destined to be routed 

474 "And We have not, prior to you, given eternal life to a human being; If you happen to die will they live 

475 "Every soul must taste death." 

476 "On the Day of Resurrection they will reject your partnership; and none can conform you as He who 
knows everything' 

477 "Let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not yet achieved puberty seek permission 
at three times of the day. . .beyond this there is no blame on you or on them." 

478 'They tlinch not from obeying the commands which they receive from Allah; and they do exactly as they 
are told." 


Also known as Precaution ( i-Ihtiras) it is to include in a statement that which would 
avert any suggestion that contradicts the object of the said statement. Thus, if the verse: "adhillat 
x ala '1-mu'minin a x izzat x ala 'l-kafirln" 479 (5:54) was limited to the word adhillat it would have 
suggested that this compassion was because of his own weakness, Thus the word 'a lzzat was 
used. Also if the verse: "a shidda' x ala 'l-kuffar ruhama' baynahum" 480 (48:29) was limited to 
ashidda' it would have implied that this was because of their own harshness. Another example is 
the verse: "takhruju bayda' min ghair su'" 481 (27:12) and the verse:"la yahtimannakum sulaiman 
wa junuduhu wa hum la yash^uriin" 482 (27:18) is precautionary lest the injustice be imputed to 
Solomon. Another example is: "fa tusibakum minhum ma^arrat bi ghair x ilm" 483 (48:25)as well 
as: "qalu nashhadu innaka la rasul Allah wa Allah yalamu innaka la rasuluhu wa Allah yashhadu 
inna 'l-munafiqin la kadhibun" 484 (63:1) The middle phrase is precautionary lest the impression 
be created that it too is subject to falsification. In the work ^Arus i-Afrah the question is raised: 
"What if all these statements are said to furnish new meanings, will they theref ore, not be 
considered prolix?" We would say that they are indeed prolix in removing doubts found in the 
previous statements, even though they independentiy have their own meanings. 
18-Supplementation ('I-Tatmim) 

479 "They will show leniency to the believers and firmness to the disbelievers." 

480 "They are harsh to the disbelievers, and compassionate among themselves." 

481 "It will appear white, but not because of some disability." 

482 "Lest Solomon and his troops crush unawares" 

483 "And you would have accrued a crime without knowing." 

484 "They said: "We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of God." And God knows full well that 
you are His Messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed, liars." 


This is to include in a statement not likely to cause misunderstanding a auxiliary phrase 
that serves some purpose. This may be to provide emphasis, as is the case with the verse: "wa 
yuf imuna 'l-Ja^am x ala hubbihi" 485 (76:8) where the words ^ala Aubbihlmeans "notwithstanding 
their own love, or desire for it". In such a case reeding others is nobler and more rewarding. The 
same is true for the verse: "wa ata '1-mal x ala hubbihi" 486 (2:177) And the phrase wa huwa 
mu Ynin in the verse: "wa man ya^mal min '1-salihat wa huwa mu'min fa la yakhaf" 487 (20:112) is 
a very eloquent supplement. 
19-Elaboration ('1-Istiqsa') 

This is when the speaker explains an idea such that, after detailing all inherent qualities 
of that idea, and including all its essential and incidental features he leaves the person who 
comes later, no room for comment. This is the case with the verse: "a yawaddu ahadukum an 
takun lahu jannat. . . " 488 (2:266) If the Almighty limited Himself to saying jannat only, it would 
have sufficed. But He went on to add: "min nakhil wa a^nab" because damage to these things are 
more devastating to the owner. He rounds of with the verse: "tajri min tahtiha" And after these 
two supplemental statements He finishes the description by saying: "Lahu flha min kull '1- 
thamarat" 489 (48:27) He thus describes all the attributes of the gardens to accentuate the loss that 
would be incurred in its destruction. Then, He describes its owner, "wa asabahu '1-kibar", and 
exhaustively explains its meaning in a way that magnifies the calamity. This it does after 
describing old age, by way of the words: "wa lahu dhurriyyat". He goes on to describe the off 
spring as being weak. 

He then mentions by way of the words: "fa asabaha Lsar" the rapid destruction of the 
garden for no other reason but the said calamity. But He goes beyond this knowing that 
whirlwinds do not destroy with great swiftness, and says: "fihi nar". But He goes beyond this to 

485 "And they leed, for the love of God. . " 

486 And they give wealth, for the love of God. . ." 

487 "And whoever does good deeds, as a believer, need not fear. . ." 

488 "Would one among you like to have a garden. . ." 

489 "For him in it there is every kind of fruit." 


state that the Fire did scorch because of the possibility that it may have been too weak. He thus 
avoids this by saying: "fa ihtaraqat" that it was able to burn and was not extinguished by the river 
in the orchid and by the green vegetation. This then is of the finest, most comprehensive and 
most complete elaborations ever put in words. 

Ibn Abu '1-Isbi" has said: "The difference between elaboration (istiqsa), supplementation 
(tatmim) and completion (takmn) is that supplementation refers to the process of completing a 
meaning that is incomplete. Supplementation refers to the process of supplementing the 
attributes of a statement that is complete, and elaboration refers to the process of elaborating the 
direct, the incidental, the attributes and the objectives of a statement that is already complete. 
This is done to the extent that everything that comes to mind is included therein and there 
remains no room for criticism. 
20-Parenthetical Statements ( i-VtirM) 

Qudama gave this section the name sudden transition (iltifat). And it is the usage of one 
or more statements related in meaning, but having no inflective relationship to the main sentence 
or sentences. The statement itself serves a purpose other than the removal of some incertitude. 
Thus, in the verse: "wa yaf aluna li Allah '1-banat subhanahu wa lahum ma yashtahun" 490 (16:57) 
the words sub hanah u are parenthetical, and they serve to absolve God Almighty from the charge 
of siring girls and to underscore the vileness of those who imputed this to Him. And in the 
verse: "la tadkhulunna '1-musjid '1-haram in sha' Allah aminin" 491 (48:27) the statement of 
exception is used parenthetically for the sake of blessings. 

49C "And they ascribe daughters to God, Glory be to Him! And for them is whatever they desire!" 
491 "You will certainly enter the sacred House-God willing-in peace." 


And in the verse: fa'tuhunna min haithu amarakum Allah inna Allah yuhibbu '1-tawwabin wa 
yuhibbbu 'l-mutjahhirin; nisa'ukum harth lakum" 492 (2:223) is a case of more parenthesis in more 
than one sentence. The phrase nisaiikum is linked to fa tuhunna as commentary, and all that falls 
in between is parenthetical, and it serves to encourage purity and to discourage anal sex. And 
the verse: "Ya ard 'iblil ma'aki. . . wa qil bu^dan" 493 (11:44) contains three parenthetical 
statements: "wa ghid '1-ma'. . .wa qudiya 'l-'amr. . .wa istawat x ala '1-judi" 494 It is stated in the 
work 'l-Aqsa 'l-QarĔ>: "The point here is to show that this decree will occur without a doubt, 
between these two events. Mentioning this later would have created the impression that it would 
occur later. Being put in the middle makes manifest that it will not be delayed. There is also a 
parenthesis within a parenthesis in the case of the phrase wa qudiya '/- 'amr which appears 
between wa ghld and wa istawat. This is because settling takes place only after the water has 
drained. And if the statements between the verses: "Wa li man khafa maqam rabbihl jannatan" 
and "muttaki'in x ala furush" 495 (55:46-54) are considered circumstantial expressions then the 
count would be seven. 

Another example of a parenthesis within a parenthesis is the verse: "Fa la 'uqsimu bi 
mawaqi" '1-nujum; wa innahu la qasam lau taTamun "azim; innnahu la Qur'an '1-karim" 
496 (56:75-77) This is because the parenthesis wa innahula qasam appears between the oath and 
its conclusion, while the parenthesis lau talamun appears between the oath and its attribute. 
This is to show respect to the object of the oath and to underscore His Glory and to indicate to 
them that He enjoys a loftiness of which they remain unaware. In the work 'l-Tibyan '1-TTbi said: 
its advent is like that which is unexpected much like that benefit which is unanticipated. 

492 "Approach them as God has instructed; God loves those who seek forgiveness, and He loves those who 
purify themselves. Your women are a tilth unto you. . ." 

493 "0! Earth! Swallow up your water. . .And it was said: "Away with. . ." 

494 ". . .the water abated, the matter was resolved. . .and the ark rested on Mount Judi." 

495 "And for those who fear standing in front of their lord there will be two Heavens. . .they will recline on 

496 "Nay! I swear by the setting of the stars; and this is indeed an immense oath-if only you knew. And that 
is indeed a Qur'an, most noble." 


21-Justification ('1-Ta lil) 

It serves to confirm and emphasize. The mind is better served accepting rules that are 
justified than those that are not. Most justifications in the Qur'an are formulated as responses 
required by the previous statements. The particles of justification are: lam, inna, anna, idh, ba', 
kay, min, and la ^alla. Examples of these have appeared in the section dealing with particles. 

Of the things requiring justification is the word i-Mkmat as appearing in the verse: 
"hikmat balighat" 497 (54:5) The reason for creation has been mentioned in the following verses: 
"jVala lakum 'l-'ard firash wa '1-sama' bina'" 498 (2:22) and " a lam naf al '1-ard mihadann; wa '1- 
jibal autadan" 499 (78:6,7) 

497 ". . .The pinnacle of wisdom" 

498 "Who made for you the earth a carpet, and the skies a canopy" 

499 "Have We not made the earth a vast expanse and the mountains as pegs. 


The Muqaddam and the Muakhkhar. 

This, the first of two sections, deals with verses that remain ambiguous on face value. But 
knowing that they belong to the category known as 'advancing and retarding' ('l-taqdim and 
i-takhir) brings clarity to them. Though some of the pious ancestors have made passing 
references to them, such verses in fact, ought to have been dealt with exclusively in a separate 
work. Ibn Abu Hatim thus quotes Qatada with reference to the verse, "Wa la nTjibuka 
amwaluhum wa la auladuhum; innama yuridu Allahu li yu^adhdhibahum fi al-hayat 
al-duniya."(9:85) x as saying: "This verse belongs to the genre of taqdim, and should be 
understood as follows: "fa la tu^jibuka amwaluhum wa la auladuhum fi al-hayat al-duniya; 
innamayurldu Allahu li yu^adhdhibahum biha fi al-^akhira. 2 

He also considers the verse, "wa laula kalimatun sabaqat min rabbika lakana \izaman 
wa ajalun musamma." 3 (129:20) as a case of tadHn. He reconstructs it thus: "wa laula kalimatun 
sabaqat min rabbika wa ajalun musamma lakana lizama." 4 

And he quotes Mujahid with regard to the verse, "amala ^ala ^abdihl al-kitab wa lam 
yafal lahu Iwaja qayyiman..." 5 (1:18) as saying that it too, belongs to the category of taqdim 
and ta'khir and must be understood as: anzala ^ala ^abdihi al-kitab qayyiman wa lam yafal 

lM Let not their wealth or their offspring enthrall you; God but wants to chastise them 
thereby in this worldly life."(55:9) 

2 "Let not the wealth and the offspring that they possess in the life ofthis world enthrall 
you; God but wants to chastise them thereby in the hereafter." 

3 "Now, but for a decree that had been issued by your Sustainer and a term set (by Him) 
(their punishment) would have occurred (instantly)." 

4 "Now, but for a decree that had already been issued it would have occurred (instantly)." 

5 "(He) sent down this divine scripture upon his servant without causing it to be crooked; 
(it is thus) unerringly straight." 

lahu Iwaja. 6 

6 (He) it is Who revealed to his servant this divine scripture which is without errors and 

without crookedness. 

And he quotes Qatada as saying that the verse "innl mutawafflka wa raf^uka 
ilayya, 7 (55:3) also belongs to the said category and must be understood thus: "inni raffuka 
ilayya wa mutawaffika. 8 

And he quotes Tkrima as saying that the verse: "lahum ^adhabun shadidun bima nasu 
yaum al-hisab, 9 (26:38) also belongs to the said category, and must be understood thus: Lahum 
yaum al-hisab ^adhabun shadidun bima nasu. 10 

And Ibn Jarir quotes Ibn Zayd as saying that the verse "wa laula fadl Allah ^alaikum wa 
rahmatuhu la ittaba^tum al-shaitana illa ^alllan" 11 (83:4) also belongs to the said category and 
must be interpreted as "adhau bihi illa qalĔan minhum; wa laula fadl Allah ^alaikum wa 
rahmatuhu lam yanju qalĔun wa la kathir" 12 

And he quotes Ibn ^Abbas as saying that the verse: Fa qalu arina Allah jahratan." 13 
(153:4), also belongs to the said category. Even when they see God, in person, they still say 
loudly: ArinaAllahY Ibn Jarir adds that it was their question that was put loudly. 

7 I will certainly cause you to die and raise you up to me (thereafter). 

8 I will certainly raise you up to me by causing you to die. 

9 For them is a grievous punishment for having forgotten the Day of Reckoning. 

10 For them, on the day of Reckoning, is a grievous punishment for having forgotten. 

n And but for God's bounty and mercy upon you, all but a few among you would 
certainly have obeyed Satan. 

12 A11 but a few of (the weak in faith have a tendency) to circulate (secret matters of the 
community). And but for the bounty and the mercy of God upon you none among them 
whatsoever would be saved. 

13 They said, 'Show us God face to face!' 

The same is true for the verse: "Wa idh qataltum nafsan fa iddara'tum flha." 1415 Baghawi 
argues that this particular verse, its actual location in recitation notwithstanding, is in fact, the 
opening statement of this parable. Al-Wahidi maintains that though the controversy about the 
identity of the murderer is put at the end, it in fact occurred before the incident of the slaughter 
of the cow. This was because the audience, when told by God: "God commands you. . ." realized 
that the cow was being slaughtered only to pin-point the true killer who till then, had been 
hidden from them. When it was clear that they comprehended this, God went on to say: "Recall 
your having slain a man and having cast blame for this on each other. . ."(2:72) , and your having 
asked Moses for a solution, and being told: "God orders you to slaughter a cow." 

Another example is the verse: "afa ra^ayta man ittakhadha ilahahu hawahu" 16 (23:45). If 
rearranged correctly (in terms of syntax ) the verse would read "hawahu ilahahu", because one 
who takes his God as his object of desire can surely not be rebuked. In recognition of this 
interpretation, the second accusative in the verse (ilahahu) was put in front. 

And if the term ahwa in the verse, "Akhraja al-mar x a fajValahu gutha^an ahwa" 17 (4:87) 
means green, it would serve as an attribute of the word al-mar^a, and together they would read: 
"He produces them green". It is put at the end however, to maintain the meter. 18 

Similarly, the term sud in the verse "Gharabh sud" 19 (27:35) would normally be placed 
in front, for ghirbĔ) means pitch black. 

14 (0, Children of Israel) recall your having slain an (innocent) human being and having 
cast the blame of this crime upon each other. 

15, l-Hussain b. Mas^ud Baghawi, MaWim 'l-Tanzil (Beirut: Dar 'l-MaMfa, 1985). 

16 Have you focused on oen who takes, as his deity, his own desires. 

17 He who brings forth lush verdure, causing it thereafter to turn to swarthy stubble. 

18 (He who) brings forth verdure that is lush, and thereafter, causes it to become swarthy 

19 (And mountains that are) raven-black. The point here is that the noun in this phrase, sud 
would normally placed before its adjective, gharabh. 

As for the verse, "Fa dahikat fa bashsharnaha " 20 (71:11) it should be understood as "Fa 
bashsharnaha fa dahikat. " 21 

And only if the words "hamma bihS' in the verse "Wa laqad hammat bihlwa hamma 
biha laula an r'a burhan rabbihl' (24:12) 22 are put at the end would Joseph be absolved of 
lustful intent. 

The second category consists of verses where taqd]m and ta'kh]r occur but with no 
apparent ambiguities. In his work 'l-Muqaddima FT Sirr 'l-Fadl 'l-Muqaddima Shams '1-DTn b. 
'1-Sa'igh quotes the most popular view that such constructions serve to accentuate particular 
aspects of these verses. Similarly, Slbawayh in his work, says that, in broad terms, taqdim occurs 
where aspects of a verse need special mention. He also indicated a desire to futher explain these 
aspects. This in general then, is the wisdom behind such constructions. As for their details, I 
have had made clear ten kinds of taqdim and ta'khir verses as they appear in the Qur'an. These 

1.1-Tabarruk: to gain blessings, by advancing, for example, the name of God Almighty in 
matters that are significant. An example is the verse, "Shahida Allah annahu la ilaha illa huwa 
wa al-mala'ikatu wa 'ulu aKilmi."(18:3) 23 and the verse, "Wa ilamu annama ghanimtum min 
shay' fa anna li Allahi khumsuhu wa li al-rasul."(41:8) 24 

20 (And his wife) laughed, and We gave her glad tidings. 

21 We gave her glad tidings, and she laughed, 

22 And indeed she desired him, and he did her; (and he would have succumbed to her 
invitation) had he not witnessed evidence from his Lord. 

23 God Himself bears witness, as do the angels, as well as those endowed with knowledge, 
that there is no deity except Him. 

24 Know that whatever booty you acquire one-fifth thereof belongs to God and His 

2A\-Tazm\: to glorify, as in the following verses, "Wa man yujfi Allah wa al-rasul"(13:4) 25 ; 
"Inna Allah wa maliTikatahu yusalluna ^ala al-nabiyy." (56:33) 26 , and, "Wa Allahu wa rasuluhu 
ahaqqu an yurduhu."(62:9) 27 

25 And whosoever obeys God and His messenger 

26 God, along with His angels are blessing the Prophet. 

27 Whilst it is God and His Prophet whose pleasure they ought to seek. 

3Al-Tashrif: to honor, by putting the male before the female, in the verse: "Inna al-muslimina 


wa al-muslimati... "(35:33) ; or the freedman over the slave: '"1-hurr bi al-hurr wa aKabd bi 
aKabd wa al-'untha bi al-'untha.(178:2) 29 , or the living over the dead: "yukhriju '1-hayya min 
'l-mayyit"(6:95) 30 and "Wa ma yastawi al-ahya' wa la al-amwat".(22:35) 31 ; or horses over other 
animals: "Wa al-Khaila wa al-bighala wa al-hamira H tarkabuha".(8:16) 32 ; or hearing over 
seeing: "wa ^ala sanfihim wa x ala absarihim"(2:7) 33 , and "Inna al-sanfa wa al-basara wa 
al-fu'ada"(36:17) 34 and, "In akhadha Allah sanf akum wa absarakum" (6:46) Ibn ^Atiyya quotes 
Al-Naqqash as saying, that in light of the verse "In akhadha Allahu sam^akum wa absarakum", 
God would seem to favor hearing over seeing.(36:17) 35 It is for this reason that in describing 
Himself in the verse: "saml' 'alim" hearing comes first. Other examples are: favoring 
Muhammad (s) over Noah (a.s.) and those with him as in the verse: "Wa idh akhadhna min 
al-nabiyylna mithaqahum wa minka wa min Nuh"(7:33) 36 ; favoring the apostles over the 
prophets in the verse: "Min rasul wa la nabiyyin"(52:22) 37 ; favoring the muhajirs over the 

28 Verily, the Muslim male and the Muslim female ... 

29 The free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the woman for the woman. 


He extracts the living from the dead." 


The living and the dead are certainly not equal. 

32 (And He has created) horses, mules and asses for you to ride. 

33,1 And over their hearing, and over their seeing." 

34 Verily, the hearing, the sight, and the heart will be called upon to account. 

35 (What if God) took away your hearing and your sight.! 

36 And remember that We did take a solemn pledge from the Prophets, and from you, and 

from Noah. 

37 (Whenever We despatched) any apostle or prophet. 

ansar in the verse: "Wa al-sabiquna al-awwaluna min al-muhajirina wa al-ansar"(100:9) 38 ; and 
wherever mentioned in the Quran, favoring humans over the jinn. In the chapter on women, the 
Quran favors the Prophets, then those who confirmed the truth, then the martyrs, and then the 
righteous ones. It also favors Ishmael over Isaac because he is older, and because the Prophet 
Muhammad (s) is of his progeny. Although Moses appears generally before Aron—because of 
having spoken directly to God~in the chapter Taha, Aron is mentioned first in keeping with the 
meter. Also, Gabriel is mentioned before Michael because of his superiority. Generally human 
beings are mentioned before animals and inanimate objects as in the verse: "Mata^an lakum wa li 
an x amikum"(32:80) 39 and: "Yusabbihu lahu man fi al-samawati wa al-ard wa al-tayr 
saffat"(41:24) 40 . But in the verse "Ta^kulu minhu an^amuhum wa anfusuhum"(27:32) 41 animals 
are mentioned before humans because animal feed appears in the beginning of the verse. The 
same however, is not the case for the aforementioned verse 32:80: the word lakum therein is 
meant to conform to the prior verse "Fal yandhur al-insan ila ta x amihi"(25:80) 42 Also, believers 
are always mentioned before non-believers, the righteous (ashab al-yamih) before the wicked 
(ashab al-shimal), the skies before the earth, and the sun before the moon, except in the verse: 
"khalaqa sab^a samawatin tibaqa wa jVala al-qamara fihinna nuran wa jVala al-shamsa 
siraja"(3:67) 43 . Some explain this as essential for the meter in the verse, and others that the 

38 (God is pleased with) those first and foremost (of Muslims) from among the migrants 
(of Mecca as well as their) hosts (in Medina). 


A delight for you as well as for your animals. 

40 Everyone in heaven and on earth sing His praises, and so too the birds as they spread 
out their wings. 

41 (We do indeed...bring forth herbage) of which your animals partake and so do you. 

42 Let man then ponder the source of his food. 

43 (Have you not seen how God) created, in perfect synchrony, the seven heavens, and set 
up, therein, the moon as a light, and the sun as a radiant lamp. 

inhabitants of the heavens-as alluded to by the pronoun in the verse (f/hz'nna)-benefit more from 
the moon than do earthlings. Ibn al-Anbari explains that the face of the moon illuminates the sky 
dwellers, and its back, the earth dwellers. And because most of its light illuminates the sky 
dwellers, God Almighty used the words: fMnna. 

Then, there is the unseen world which is generally mentioned beiore the seen, which in 
the case of the verse "^Alim al-ghayb wa 'l-shahada"(22:59) 44 is because knowledge of the 
unseen is more noble. But in deference to the meter in the chapter, this rule is not followed the 
verse : "YaTamu '1-sirra wa akhfa"(7:20) 45 

4:Al-Munasaba: to maintain conformity. This may occur between the first mentioned item in a 
verse and its contents, as is the case in the verse : "Wa lakum flha jamalun hina turihuna wa hlna 
tasrahun."(6:16) 46 Beauty admittedly, is beauty, regardless of whether it manifests itself in the 
morning or in the evening. Nonetheless, with regard to cattle, it would be in the evening, after 
they have eaten, that is, that their beauty would be most resplendent. In the mornings, before 
they have eaten, it is less so. In like vein is the verse: "wa alladhina idha anfaqu lam yusriM wa 
lam yaqturu"(67:25) 47 , where yusrifu is negated first because giving is itself a noble gesture. 
And in the verse, "Wa urikum 'l-barq khaufan wa |ama x an"(24:30) 48 fear comes before hope 
because initially, on seeing the first bolt of lightning, one is filled with fear, whereas the hope f or 
rain occurs only after several such bolts have fallen. 

In the verse "Wa jValnaha wa ibnaha ayatan liralamin.(91:21) 49 she (Mary) comes 

44 God knows all things, both hidden and open. 

45 (Behold! He knows) He knows all secrets, and (even that which is) more hidden 

46 (And He creates cattle); you find beauty in them in the evenings when you drive them 
home and in the mornings when you tale them out to pasture. 


And those who, whenever they spend, are neither wasteM nor miserly. 

48 (Among His wonders is that) He shows you His signs that fill you wit fear, but also 
with hope. 

49 And We caused her and her son to be a sign for all of humanity. 

before her son (Jesus) because the previous verse "Wa allatl ahsanat farjaha" focuses largely on 
her. But in the verse "Wa jValna ibn Maryama wa ummahu... "(50:23) the son comes first in 
order to conform with the previous verse where Moses comes first. 

As for the verse "Wa kullan ataynahu hukman wa x ilman"(79:21) 50 , sound judgement is 
mentioned therein before knowledge, although the latter generally precedes the former. This was 
done in order to maintain continuity with the previous verse which reads: "Idh yahkumani fi 
al-harth."(78:21) 51 And Munasaba: may also occur where there is a need to maintain 
conformity between the location of a word in a verse and its actual meaning. The following are 
examples hereof : 

A.'1-awwalu wa al-akhiru.(3:57) 52 

B.Wa laqad ^alimna al-mustaqdimina minkum wa laqad ^alimna al-musta'khhin.(24:15) 53 
C.Liman sha'a minkum an yataqaddama au yata'akhkhara.(3:74) 54 
D.Bima qaddama wa akhkhara.(13:75) 55 

E.Thullatun min al-awwalina wa thullatun min al-akhirin.(13:56) 56 
F.Li Allahi al-'amru min qablu wa min ba x du.(4:30) 57 

50 And unto each of them we bestowed sound judgement and knowledge. 

51 (And remember) David and Soloman who gave judgement about a field (into which 
someone's cattle had strayed). 

52 (He is) the first and the last. 

53 And We do know well those who came before you as well as those who will follow 

54 (This is a warning) for those among you who come farward as well as those who tarry. 

55 (On that day man will be informed) of what he had done or had left undone. 

56 (The f oremost in faith and good works) will comprise of many of those from the past 
and some from later times. 

57 God has all control, initially and ultimately. 

G.Wa lahu '1-hamd fl 'ula wa 'l-akhlra.(70:28) 58 

In the verse "Fa li Allah '1-akhiratu wa al-'ula".(25:53) 59 the word al-akhira comes first to 
maintain the meter, just as is the case with the verse "Jama^nakum wa al-awwalin"(38:77) 60 

58 To Him belongs all praise in the beginnning and in the end. 

59 (Unto God belongs) the hereafter as well as this life. 

60 When We will have gathered you and those before you. 

5Al-Haththu:to encourage and to motivate the performance of an act which is in danger of being 
neglected. Thus in the verse "Min ba^di wasiyyatin yusl biha au dain."(ll:4) 61 bequests come 
first although the law requires that debts be discharged before bequests. 

6Al-Sabaq: to mention things in order of their existence. This may occur either in terms of time, 
as in the appearance of night before day, darkness before light, David before Soloman, the x Ad 
people before the Thamud, Adam before Noah, Noah before Abraham, Abraham before Moses, 
Moses before Jesus, and David before Solomon. In the verse "Yastati min al-malifikati rusulan 
wa min al-nas"(75:22) 62 angels are mentioned before human beings. Similarly, in the following 
verses wives, are mentioned before children: "Qul li azwajika wa banatika"(59:33) 63 ; and in the 
following verse, slumber before sleep: "La ta'khdhuhu sinatun wa la naum.(225:2) 64 

61 (THe estate of the deceased should be distributed only) after the bequests (have been 
discharged) or debts (paid off) 


(God, in His majesty) appoints, as His messengers, angels as well as human beings. 

63 (0 Prophet) tell your wives and your daughters. . .(to draw their outer garments over 

64 Neither slumber nor sleep overcomes Him. 

Or they occur in terms of their revelation, as in the verses "Suhuf Ibrahim wa 
Musa"(18:87) 65 and "Wa anzala al-Taurat wa al-Injil min qablu hudan li al-nas wa anzala 
al-Furqan"(4:3) 66 Or in the order of their importance as in "Irka^u wa 'usjudu"(77:22) 67 ; "Fa 
igsilu wujuhakum wa aydiyakum"(6:5) 68 , and "Inna al-Safa wa al-Marwata min sha^air 
Allah"(158:2) 69 . It was thus, with regard to the latter, that the Prophet said "We begin (the walk 
between the two hills) in the order mentioned by God Himself." 70 

Things are also mentioned in their natural order as in the following two verses: "Mathna 
wa thulatha wa rubiT "(3:4) 71 and "Ma yakunu min najwa thalatha illa huwa rabi^uhum wa la 
khamsat illa huwa sadisuhum"(7:58) 72 . Numbers too, are mentioned in this order, except in the 
verse "An taqumu li Allah mathna wa furadjf"(46:34) where, to emphasize the importance of 
unity and cooperation in the performance of good, that order is reversed. 73 
7 Al-Sababiyya: to show cause and effect. The word al-Aza for example, always appears before 

65 Indeed all this has already been discussed in earlier revelations- in those of Abraham 
and Moses. 

66 In earlier times He had revealed the Torah and the the Gospels-(And He)now reveals 
the Standard (to determine truth from falsehood). 


(O You who believe) Bow down and prostrate yourselves (before God). 


(O You who believe) . . .wash your faces and your hands. 


(Indeed, the two hills)Safa and Marwa are among the symbols of God. 

70 This is part of a longer tradition as found in the Sahih collection of Ibn. Hajjaj 
'1-Qushayri Muslim, (Riyadh: Idararat '1-Buhuth 'Kilmiyya, 1991). 

71 (Then marry) two three or four (wives). 

72 There can be no conspiracy of three persons without Him being the fourth among them, 

nor of five without Him being the sixth. 


(God is with you) whether you be in company with another, or alone. 

al-Hakim because His wisdom is a consequence of His majesty. Similarly, the word al-^AlM 
appears before al-Hakim because fortitude and perfection are based on knowledge. This order is 
reversed in chapter six however, because of the need to clarify certain commands. 74 

In the verse "Yuhibbu al-tawwablna wa yuhibbu al-mutatahhirlna" those who repent 
comes before those who purify themselves. This is because purification is a consequence of 
repentance. 75 In the verse "Li kulli affak athim" falsehood appears first because it is the cause 
of sin. 76 Similarly, in the verse "yaguddu min absarihim wa yahfazhu furujahum" 7 men are 
first called upon to lower their gazes because eye contact may lead to sexual contact. 

74 See in this regard 83:6, and 128:6. 

75 (God) loves those who seek His pardon and those who purify themselves. 

76 Woe unto every lying sinner. 

77 (Command all believing men) to restrain their gaze and to protect their chastity. 

7-Al-Kathra: To show a greater number as in the verse "Fa minkum kafir wa minkum Mu'min" 


, where disbelievers, because of their greater number, are mentioned first. Or in the verse "Fa 


minhum zalimun li nafsihi", (35:32) where for the same reason, the unjust come first, followed 
by those who follow a middle course, and those foremost in good deeds. And because men are 
more likely to steal than women they come first in the verse dealing with theft, whereas women 
come first in the verse of adultery, because it is more prevalent among them. Similarly, in most 
places in the Qur'an, the mercy of God comes before His wrath because it is greater. This is 
substantiated by the tradition of the Prophet (s) "Indeed My mercy overwhelms My wrath." 80 

Ibn '1-Hajib, in his work 1-Amali says, with regard to the verse "Inna min azwajikum wa 
auladikum ^aduwwan lakum fa ihdharuhum"(64:14) 81 that azwajukum is mentioned first to 
indicate that animosity takes place among them, and that it occurs more frequentiy among 
spouses than among children. It was also placed first because it best captured the intended 
meaning. Similarly, the word amwal in the verse "Innama amwalukum wa auladukum 
fitna"(64:15) comes first because wealth and calamity are almost inseparable. Thus the Quran 
says "Inna '1-insan layatga an ra'ahu istaghna" (96:6) 82 And because the presence of children 
does not necessitate the occurrence of calamity in the same way that wealth does, the latter's 
mention first was thus appropriate. 

9-Al-Taraqqi: to progress from the lowest to the highest as in the verse "A lahum arjulun 
yamshuna biha am lahum aidin yabtishuna biha 83 , which begins with the less noble hands to the 
more noble legs. Similarly, the eyes are more noble than the hands and hearing more noble than 

78 (He indeed, created you, but) some among you deny the truth whilst others affirm it. 

79 (And among our servants are those) who are unjust to themselves. 

80 Muhammad b. Ismall Ed. Muhammad Fu'ad ^Abd Al-Baqi Bukhari, Al-Adab 
Al-Mufrad (Beirut: Dar Al-Basha'ir al-Islamiyya, 1988); Muslim, Sahih Muslim. 

81 Behold, some of your spouses and your children may turn out to be enemies of you. 

Man, indeed, does transgress greatly, when he believes that he is self-sufficient 

Do these (idols) have feet with which to walk, or hands with which to grasp? 




Also in this category are verses in which words with greater meaning are given 
precedence, such as 1-rahim which precedes 'al-rahman, and 'l-ra 'uf which precedes 'l-rahim. 
And, the word 'l-rasul precedes 'l-nabl as is found in the verse "Wa kana rasulan 
nabiyyan"(19:51) 84 Many explanations have been suggested for this last sequence, the most 
widespread being that it conforms to the meter of the verse. 

10. al-Tadalli to progress from the highest to the lowest. Examples of this have been furnished 
by of the following verses: 
a- La ta'khudhuhu sinatun wa la naum.(255:2) 85 
b- La yughadiru saghiratan wa la kabiratan. (49: 18) 86 

c- Lan yastankifa al-masihu an yakuna ^abdan li Allah wa la al-mala'ikatu al-muqarrabuna. 
(172:4) 87 

This then is what was mentioned by Ibn '1-Sa'igh. Others have mentioned other reasons 

d- Where the word brought forward is more expressive of ability and more amazing. An example 
is the verse: Wa minhum man yamshi x ala batanihi. (45:24) 88 and the verse: Wa sakhkharna 
ma x a Daud al-jibal yusabbihna wa al-tair. (79:21) 89 Zamakhshari maintains that mountains that 
are lifeless, take precedence over living, albeit mute, birds, because the former's submission to 
Him, and glorification of Him, is by far a greater miracle that provides more astonishing proof of 

84 (Moses) was an apostle and a prophet. 

85 Neither slumber nor sleep overcomes Him. 

86 (What kind of book is this!) It leaves out nothing, big or small. 

87 Christ does not disdain being a slave unto God, nor do the angels closest to (Him) 

88 (Of the animals that God created) Some crawl on their bellies. 


And We subdued the hills, and so too th birds to (Sing our praises) 

His omnipotence. 9091 

Another reason for this sequence, of which many examples will follow presently, is the to 
maintain the meter of the verses. And finally, this sequence is sometimes used to present 
parenthetical statements that give qualifying information. More on this subject will appear in 
section 55. 


90 v.2,p.580 

91 Mahmud b. "Umar Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf x an Haqa'iq 'l-Tanzil (Bulaq: 
Al-Matbal- Amiriyya) . 

Just as some words may come first in some contexts they may come later in others. This 
may be because the context itself may so dictate, as was alluded to previously. Or to give special 
attention to them, some statements begin with, and end with the same words, as in verse, 
"Yauma tabyaddu wujuh wa taswaddu wujuh" (106 :3) 92 Or to show eloquence a single word 
would assumes several positions as in "Wa 'udkhulu '1-bab wa qulu hi$atun"(58:2) 93 and, "Wa 
qulu hittatun wa 'udkhulu al-bab sujjadan" (161:17). 94 This is also the case in the verses "Inna 
anzalna al-Taurat fiha hudan wa nur"(44:5) 95 and "Qul man anzala '1-kitab alladhl ja'a bihl Musa 
nuran wa hudan li '1-nas." (91:6) 96 

92 On the day when some faces will be whitened." 


Enter the gate prostrating, and say "Forgive us our sins" 


And say "Forgive us our sins" and enter the gate humbly." 


We indeed, revealed the Torah; in it is guidance and light. 


D (0 ye who believe) Who revealed the book that Moses brought as a source of guidance 
and a light for mankind? See in this regard: Khatlb Iskafi, Durrat 'l-Tanzil (Beirut: Dar '1-Afaq 
'1-Jadida, 1979) 

On the Definitions of Particles that the Exegete must Know 

By particles I refer to the letters and the like that are nouns, verbs and adverbs. 

Know, that because of their differing occurrences, having knowledge of this material is 
an important necessity. It is because of such differing occurrences that speech takes on such 
variations. An example is the verse "wa inna au iyyakum la x ala hudan au fl dalalin mubin" 1 
(34:24). The particle " x ala" is used for the truth and "fi"for misguidance, and it is as if the 
truthful person is highly placed, with vision that takes in various scenarios whereas the 
misguided person is submersed in darkness, is lowly placed, and not knowing where to turn. 

Another is the verse "fa fbf athu ahadakum bi wariqikum hathihi ila T-madinati fa 

— — — y 

lyanthur ayyuha azka Ja^aman fa lya'tikum bi rizqin minhu wa lyatala$af" (18:19) is conjoined 
to the previous sentence by way of the participle "fa"' and to the subsequent sentence by way of 
the participle "waw". And this is because the sequence has been disturbed. After all, 
watchfulness (l-talaffuf) is not contingent on food being brought, as opposed to its coming 
which is anticipated. Also anticipating the food is linked to turning attention to it, and turning 
attention to it is linked to abandoning disputes about the time spent in the cave, and deferring to 
the knowledge of God in this regard. 

And the verse "innama T-sadaqat li T-fuqara'i wa T-masakin. . ." 3 (9:60) shifts from the 
particle "li" to "fi"in the case of the last four persons, to imply a greater right of the offerings than 
those before them who were preceded by the particle "li". This is because "fi" alludes to 
'containing something' and its usage suggests that they have greater right to being considered for 
the offerings, just as a thing is placed in its container to remain therein. 

T-Farisi has said: "The verse uses 'wa fi T-riqab' and not 'wa H T-riqab' indicating that a 
slave lacks right of ownership." 

Ibn ^Abbas is reported to have said: "Praise be to God who said: " x an salatihim sahun" 4 
(107:5) and did not say "fi salatihim". Similar examples will be mentioned. 

And in presenting this material he followed the sequence of the letters of the alphabet. A 
group of scholars dedicated separate works to this topic. This includes T-Harawi from among the 
early scholars, who did so in the work 1-Uzhiyyah , and Ibn Umm Qasim from among the later 
scholars who did so in the work 1-jana l-danl. 

The Hamzah 

This is of two kinds: 

A- The interrogative particle (hamzah * l-Istifham) which in reality seeks comprehension. and 
which is its original purpose. It is thus characterized by the following features: 

1 "And verily , (either) we or you are rightly guided or in plain error" 

2 "So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the town, and let him find out 
which is the good lawful food and bring some of that to you and let him be careful" 

3 "Zakat are only for the poor, needy, those employed to collect funds, " 

4 "Those who delay (absent-minded) their salat " 

1. To omit, as will be explained in section 56. 

2. To establish form and to confirm, as opposed to the particle hal which is used strictly to 
confirm, and all other particles which are used strictly to form. 

3. To affirm, as in the verse "a kana li 1-nas ^ajaban" 5 (10:2) and the verse "a 1-thakarairani 
harrama. . ." 6 (6:143) and deny, as in "A lam nashrah" 7 (94:1). It serves to provide two 
meanings: one, to remind and alert, as in the foregoing examples, and as in the verse "a 
lam tara ila rabbika kayfa madda T-ziU" 8 (25:45). And two, to show amazement at some 
colossal event, as in the verse "a lam tara ila allathlna kharaju min diyarihim wa hum uluf 
hathara T-maut" 9 (2:243). In both cases the purpose is to alert, as in the verse "a lam 
nuhliki T-auwwalln" 10 (77:16). 

5 "Is it a wonder for mankind that We sent " 

6 "Has he forbidden the two males" 

7 "Have We not opened your breast for you" 

8 "Have you not seen how your Lord spread the shadow" 

9 « 

Did you not think of those who went forth from their homes in thousands fearing 

10 „ 

Did we not destroy the ancients?" 

4. To show its connection to the previous verses it is placed in front of the conjunction. 
Examples include: "a wa kullama ^ahadu ^ahdan" 11 (2:100); "a fa amina ahlu 1-Qura" 12 
(7:98), and the verse "a thumma itha ma waqaV 13 (10:51). All by way of analogy with 
the parts of all conjoined sentences its related particles however. Examples include: "fa 
kaifa tattaqun" 14 (73:17); "fa aina tathhabun" 15 (81:26), "fa anna tu'fakun" 16 (6:95); "fa 
hal yuhlaku" 17 (46:35), "fa ayyu l-fariqaini" 18 (6:81), and the verse "fa ma lakum fi 1- 
munafiqln" 19 (4:88). 

5. Abu Hayyan quotes some scholars as saying that it is not used as an interrogative 
particle until it is intuitively sensed that the response to the question would be in the 
affirmative. By contrast, hal conjures neither a positive nor a negative response. 

6. As opposed to other particles it may also be part of a conditional statement. such as the 
verse: "a fa in mitta fahum khalidun" 20 (21:34) and the verse "a fa in mata au qutila 
inqalabtum" 21 (3:144). 

7. It does not serve literally to interrogate but to produce multiple meanings as will be clear 
in section fifty seven. 


When used in a sentence containing the verb ra 'ayta, it precludes the literal meaning of 
seeing with the eye or the heart. Instead, it is then said to mean: "inform me" and when changed 
to the ???pronoun "ha". Excluded from this is Qunbul's recitation of the verse "ha antum 
ha'ula" 22 (3:119) with a shortened ha'. It does however, appear in oaths, including the verse "wa 

11 "Is it not (the case)that every time they make a covenant" 

12 "Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure" 

13 "Is it then that when it has actually befallen, you will believe it?" 

14 "Then, how can you avoid the punishment" 

15 "Then, where are you going?" 

16 "Then, how are you deluded away from the truth?" 

17 "But shall any be destroyed except " 

18 "So which of the two parties. . ." 

19 "Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the 


20 "Then if you die, would they live forever?" 

21 "If he dies or is killed , will you then turn back on your heels as (disbelievers)?" 

22 "Lo! You are the ones ..." 

la taktum shahadatan", which is read with tanwm, followed by a lengthening of the hamza of the 
word "Allah". 

B-The hamzah that is used as vocative particle for objects close by. To this category according 
to 1-Fara' belongs the verse "a man huwa qanitun ana'a 1-layl" 23 when recited without a doubled 
mjm. So read, it means O! You who possess these attributes! 

Hisham has "This is far fetched because of the fact that the vocative forms of the Qur'an 
appear only with the particle "ya". Shielding it from assertions that it is metaphorical does 
however, make Farra's opinion plausible. After all, none of the interrogatives used by God are 
done so literally. It is similarly shielded from assertions that much has been elided. Those who 
argue in support of the interrogative particle reconfigure the verse to mean: "a man huwa qanit 
khair am hadha 'l-kafir" 24 referring that is, to the object of the following verse: "qul tamatta^ bi 
kufrika qalilan" 25 (39:8), Thus, two things have been deleted: the equivalent of the hamiah and 
the predicate. 


In the work i-Zmat Abu Hatim said: "This is a designation more complete than the word 
"1-wahid". Notice thatthe statement: fulan \ayaqum lahuwahid (As for so and so: one person 
does not stand for him!) Holds out the possibility that two or more persons do indeed stand for 
him. This is differentto saying: 'iayaqum lahuahad "(No one stands for him) 

The word "1-ahad" encompasses characteristics not found in "1-wahid". Thus the 
statement: "laisa fi i-dar wahid "does not preclude animals, birds, wild animals and human 
beings; it thus includes human beings and others, as opposed to the statement: "laisa fi i-dar 
ahad "which is specific to human beings and excludes all others. 

23 "Is one who is obedient to God prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the 

hours of the night" 

24 "Is one who is obedient to God better or the disbeliever" 

25 "Say: "Exult in your disbelief for temporarily." 

He also said: "The word 1-ahad in the idiom of the Arabs refers to 'the first ' as well as 
"the one'", and serves to both affirm and negate. Thus in the verse: "qul huwa Allah ahad" 26 
(112:1) it means wahid, whilst in the verse "fa ftf athu ahadakum bi wariqikum" 27 (18:19), it 
means i-awwal. When used in the converse however it serves to negate only. One thus says: 
"majahnlmin ahad" To this belongs the following verses: "a yahsabu an lan yaqdira ^alaihi 
ahad" 28 (90:5); "an lam yarahu ahad" 29 (90:7); "fa ma minkum min ahadin" 30 (69:47); and the 
verse "wa la tusalli x ala ahadin" 31 (9:84). The word "wahid" however, is used without restrictions 
in both cases. 

In using "aAad" both the masculine and feminine forms are equally appropriate. The 
Almighty has said: "lastunna ka ahadin min T-nisa'i" 32 (33:32). This is in contrast to " 1-wahid": 
one will not say: "ka wahid min T-nisa'i" but rather, "wahidah". Furthermore, "ahad" may be 
used for both singular as well as plural. 

I would add that it is precisely for this reason that the verse "fa ma minkum min ahadin 
^anhu hajizin" does not use "T-wahid". 

Also, T-ahad" does have a plural form, "T-ahadun" and "T-ahad", as opposed to "T- 
wahid" which has no plural. One does not say "wahiduna" but "ithnan" and "thalatha" instead. 
And T-ahad" may not be used in multiplication, numbers, division and in counting generally, as 
opposed to "T-wahid". This brief discussion now ends. But his discussion on these two things 
yields seven sub sections. 

And in '1-Barizi's Asrar l-TanzĔ the following appears in a discussion of the chapter 7- 
ikhlas: It may well be asked that in the idiom of the Arabs 'T-ahad' commonly follows a negation 
whilst 'T-wahid' follows an affirmation, whereas here ahad appears after an affirmation? 

Abu ^Ubayd is of the view that they both mean the same, in which case none will hold 
any advantage over the other, even though 'ahad' is used more frequently in the negative context. 
It may well be that this digression from the norm is in dererence to the rhyme??? 

26 "Say: "He is God, the One" 

17 "So send one of you with this silver coin of yours" 

28 "Does he think that none can overcome him?" 

29 "Does he think that none sees him?" 

30 "And none of you could have withheld Us from (punishing) him" 

31 "And never pray (funeral prayer) for any of them(hypocrites)" 

32 "You are not like any other women" 

And in his Mufradat 7-Qur 'an 1-Raghib had this to say: "ahad is used in two ways, to 
negate, and to affirm." In the first case the object is to include the entire category of speakers, 
thus including many or a few. It is therefore quite correct to say : "ma min ahadin min fad'illn" 33 . 
Or as the verse goes: "fa ma minkum min ahadin "anhu hajizin". The second case takes three 

I. That which is used in numbers with the tens e.g ahada ^ashara (eleven) and ahadin wa 
^ishrih (twenty one). 

II. That which is part of an idafah construction, and means the first. An example is the verse 
"amma ahadu kuma fa yasqi rabbahu khamran" 34 (12:41) 

III. That which is used as an adjective to describe God in particular, as is the case with the 
verse "qul huwa Allahu ahad" 35 (112:1). The origin of the word is "wahada "except that 
the word "wahada "is used for others. 


This assumes the following forms: 

33 "There is not any virtues people" 

34 "As for one of you, he (as a servant) will pour out wine" 

35 "Say: "He is God, the One" 

1-As a noun in most cases for the perfect tense. Most scholars maintain however, that it only 
appears as an adverb, as in the verse "fa qad nasarahu Allah ith akhrajahu allathina kafam" 36 
(9:40). Or with the adverb as part of an idafa construction, as in: "ith hadaitana" 37 (3:8); 
"yauma'ithin tuhaddithu" 38 (99:4), and "wa antum hina'ithin taniurun" 39 (56:84). Other maintain 
that it appears as the direct object, as in the verse "wa uthkuru ith kuntum qalilan" 40 (7:86)", and 
as in the opening statements of all parables, where it means 'recall'. Or as the substitution (badl 
minhu) as in the verse "wa uthkur fi 1-kitab Maryam ith intabathat" 41 (19:16). Here "ith" is an 
exhaustive substitution (badl ishtimal). Also belonging to this category is the verse "yas'alunaka 
x an 1-shahr 1-haram qitalin fihi" 42 (2:217) and uthkuru ni^mat Allah ^alaikum ith jVala fikum 
anbiya'a" 43 (5:20) which implies: remember those favors, that is, the cited installing of the 
prophets. So stated, the particle will be considered is the thing mentioned , therefore it is badl kul 
min kul (substituting the entire thing). Most scholars however, consider this an adverb for the 
direct object omitted in the first verse, that is: remember the favour of God when you were few. 
In the second verse they consider it an adverb of a word which is mudaf to a deleted direct 
object i.e. remember the story of Mary. This is supported by the verse "wa uthkuru ni^mata 
Allah ^alaikum ith kuntum a x da'a" 44 (3:103). 1-Zamakhshari asserts that it should be a mubtada' 
(subject) and he cites the alternate reading of some of the verse "lamin manna Allah x ala T- 
mu'minin" 45 (3:164). He said: "Reconfigured, the verse implies: mannuhu idh ba^atha (His 
bounty appeared when He dispatched) In this case idha is in the nominative case, just as it is in 
the statement: akhtubu mayakun i-amHr idhakana qa\man (the leader is at his best when he 
delivers his address standing) i.e. when God sent him, then He favoured the believers". Ibn 
Hisham said: "we do not know of anyone with this view". Many scholars say that it serves to 
convert the perfect to the imperfect, as in the verse: "yauma'ithin tuhaddithu akhbaraha" 46 (99:4), 


36 "For God did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out" 

37 "After you have guided us" 

38 "That day it will declare its information" 

39 "And you at the moment are looking on" 

40 "And remember when you were but few" 

41 "And mentioned in the Book (the Qur'an), the story of Mary, when she withdrew in 
seclusion from her family" 

42 "They ask you about fighting in the sacred months" 

43 "Remember the favour of God unto you when He made appointed apostles from among 

44 "And remember God's favour on you, for you were enemies" 

45 "God has indeed, conferred a great favour on the believers" 

46 «n 

"That day it will declare its information" 

but the majority reject this view and designate this as belonging to those verses whose mture 
events are so definitive as to be couched in past terms. To this category belongs the verse:"wa 
nufikha fi 1-sur" 47 (18:99) as well. Those holding this view, Ibn Malik among them, support 
their view by way of the verse "fa saufa yalamun; ith 1-aghlal fi a naqihim" 48 (40: 70 - 71) This 
is because ya lamun due to it being prefixed by the particle saufa becomes imperfect in both 
word and meaning. due to the participle of l-tanfis (soufa) which enters upon it and influence 
the word "ith", therefore it get the status of "itha". Others consider it a circumstantial phrase 
(Ml), as appears in the verse "wa la ta^malun min "amalin illa kunna "alaikum shuhudan ith 
tutiduna fihi" 49 (10:61) 


Ibn Abu Hatim quotes Abu Malik on the authority of 1-Suddi as saying: "wherever in 
appears in the Qur'an nothing takes place, and wherever ith appears things do take place. 

47 "And the trumpet will be blown" 

48 "They will come to know when iron collars will be rounded over their necks" 

49 "Nor you do any deed but We are witness thereof when you are doing it" 

2. As a causative explanation (1-talil), as appears in the verse "wa lan yanfa x akum T-yaum ith 
ialamtum annakum fl T- X athab mushtarikun" 50 (43:39) to imply: that you share this day, the 
burden of punishment benefits you not, and this because of wrong doing in this world. Given that 
causative explanations stem from the intensity of the statement rather than the word as such, 
should this be considered a particle acting in place of the lam of causation, or an adverb of time? 
Two views exist in this regard, the first of which is attributed to Slbawaih. The second is critical 
of these explanations: for one, ith cannot be a substitute (badl )for yaum given the difference in 
time, and cannot be an adverb yanfa *u because it cannot af fect both adverbs. Nor can it afect 
mushtarikun because the governed word of the predicate of the "inna" rule cannot precede it, and 
because the governed word of a relative clause cannot precede the relative pronoun. Another 
reason is that they share in matters pertaining to the Herearter, and not to the period of their 

Also considered causative are the particles in: "wa ith lam yahtadu bihi fa sa yaquluna 
hatha ifkun qadim" 51 (46:11) and "wa ith iTaialtumuhum wama ya^buduna illa Allah fa'wu ila T- 
kahf" 52 (18:16). Most scholars reject this distinction, and say that it implies: ba^da ith mlamtum. 

Ibn Jinnl has said: "I screened the verse "wa lan yanfa x akum T-yaum. . ." repeatedly with 
Abu X AH, probing the change of ith from 1-yaum. We concluded thereirom that in the case of 
God this life and the after life are one, and so today is like the past. 

3. Abu ^Ubaidah, following by Ibn Qutaibah, cites the verse "wa ith qala rabbuka li T- 
mala'ikah" 53 (2:30) to support the view that it is an addition which serves to emphasize. 

4. Like the particle qad it too is used to clarify. The verse in question is ascribed thereto. To this 
category Suhayli adds the verse "ba^da ith antum muslimun" 54 (3:80) Ibn Hisham however, said 

: "these two views are irrelevant". 

50 "It will profit you not this Day as you did wrong, (and) that you will be sharers in 
the punishment" 

51 "And when they have not let themselves be guided by it, they say : "this is an 
ancient lie" 

j2 "And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except God, 
then seek refuge in the cave" 

53 "And remember when your Lord said to the angels" 

54 "After you have submitted to God's will" 

The particle "ith" must be attached to sentence that is either nominal as in the verse "wa 
uthkuru ith antum qaffi" 55 (8:26), or verbal. In the latter case the verb in question must be perfect 
in tense and meaning. An example is the verse: "Wa ith qala rabbuka li mala'ikah" and the verse 
"wa ithi ibtala Ibrahim rabbahu" 56 (2:124). It may also be perfect in meaning alone, as in the 
verse: "wa ith taqula li allathi an^ama Allah ^alaihi" 57 (33:37). All three scenarios are expressed 
in the verse "illa tansuruhu faqad nasarahu Allah ith akhrajahu allathina kafaru thaniya ithnain 
ith huma fl 1-ghar ith yaqulu li sahibihi" 58 (9:40). Sometimes the sentence itself is omitted 
because of being well known, and in its stead a nunation is substituted, and because of the 
merger of two paused letter (iltiqa' al-sakinain) the letter "thal" is given a kasra. Examples are 
the verse "wa yauma'ithin yafrahu 1-mu'minun" 59 (30:4) and: "wa antum hina'ithin taniurun" 60 

1-Akhfash opined that ith is declinable because it no longer needs the sentence, and that 
the kasra acts as end marker, in conjunction with the words "1-yaum" and "1-hin" which are 
attached as idafa to it. This is rejected because its indeclension is because it comprises of two 
letters, and that the need for the sentence remains remains in order to complete its meaning. This 
is similar to that demonstative construction wherein the demonstrative particle has been omitted. 


It is of two kinds: 

1. One, which serves to surprise, especially in the case of nominal sentences, which need no 
reply, nor need appear in the beginning. The meaning is conveyed in the present tense, and not 
in the future. Examples include: "fa alqaha fa itha hiya hayyatun tas^a" 61 (20:20); "fa lamma 
anjahum itha hum yabghun" 62 (10:23); and "wa itha athaqna 1-nas rahmatan min ba^di dharra'a 
massathum itha lahum makrun fi ayatina" 63 (10:21) 

55 "And remember when you were few" 

56 "And remember when the Lord of Abraham tried him with certain commands" 
,7 "And remember when you said to him on whom God has bestowed grace" 

58 "If you help him not, for God did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him 
out, the second of the two" 

59 "And on that day, the believers will rejoice" 

60 "And you at that moment are looking on" 

61 "He cast it down, and behold! It was a snake, moving quickly" 

62 "But when He delivers them, behold! They disobey God" 

63 "And when We let mankind taste mercy after some adversity has afflicted them, 
behold! they take to plotting against Our ayahs " 

Ibn Hajib has said : "By surprise is meant the simultaneous appearance of a thing together 
with you, in some activity". In saying, for instance, kharajtu fa idha 'l-asad bi 'l-bab (I stepped 
out, and Lo! There was the lion at the door!) the lion and your appearance at the place of 
emergence are simultaneous. Its emergence with you at the place of emergence establishes 
greater proximity than if it had been the time of emergence. This is because it is place and not 
time that singles you out. And the greater the proximity the greater the surprise. Contlicting 
views exist with regard to this particle "itha": that it is a participle, according to T-Akhfash 
whose view Ibn Malik gives preference to; that it is an adverb of place, according to T- 
Mubarrad whose view Ibn x Usfur give preference to; and that it is an adverb of time, according 
to T-Zujaz, whose view Zamakhshari give preference to. He also claimed that it is governed by 
an implied verb derived from the word T-mufaja'ah. He said: "The implication is as follows: 
"then when he came to call you, behold! you went out at that time". Ibn Hisham said: "this is not 
known from anyone else. Rather, it is the explicit or the implied predicate which is known to 
them as its accusative?? He said: "The predicate appearing with it in the Qur'an is always 

2. That it does not come for l-mufaja 'ah. In most cases it comes as an adverb for the future 
tense which include the meaning of sharf (condition). It specially enters upon verbal sentences 
and is in need of ajawab (reply to sharj). It occurs in the beginning, unlike l-mufaja 'ah and the 
verb that follows it, is either visible e.g. the verse "itha ja'a nasr Allah" 64 (110:1); or implied e.g. 
the verse "itha T-sama'u inshaqqat" 65 (84:1). Its jawab is either a verb e.g. the verse "fa itha ja'a 
amr Allah qudhiya bi T-haqq" 66 (40:78) or a nominal sentence joined to the participle "fa" e.g. 
"Fa itha nuqira fi T-naqur fa thalika youma'ithin youmun ^asir" 67 (74: 8-9) and the verse "fa itha 
nufikha fi T-sur fa la ansaba" 68 (23:101); or likewise a verbal sentence of request e.g. the verse 
"fa sabbih bi hamdi rabbika" 69 (110:3); or a nominal sentence joined to the participle "itha- 7- 
fujaiyyah" e.g the verse itha da^akum da'watan min T- X ardh itha antum takhrujun" 70 (30:25) and 
the verse "fa itha asaba bihi man yasha'u min Tbadihi itha hum yastabshimn" 71 (30:48). 

Sometimes it is implied due to an indication that precedes it, or an indication of l-maqam 

64 "When there comes the help of God" 

65 "When the heaven is split asunder" 

66 "But, when comes the commandment of God, the matter will be decided with truth" 

67 "Then, when the trumpet is sounded, truly, that Day will be a Hard Day" 

68 "Then, when the trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them" 

69 "So glorify the praises of your Lord" 

70 "When He will call you by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth" 

71 „ 

Then when He has made them fall on whom of His slaves as He wills, lo, they 

(status). It will be explained in the categories of l-hathf. 

Sometimes the participle "itha" is excluded from being an adverb. 1-Akhfash said regarding the 
verse "hatta itha ja'uha" 72 (39:71) that the participle "itha" is in the accusative case because of the 

word "hatta". Ibn Jinniy said regarding the verse "itha waqa x at l-waqf ah " 73 (56:1) 

concerning the accusative case of the verse "khafidhatan rafLatan" 74 (56:3). The first "itha" is a 
mubtada 'a (subject) and the second one is a predicate and the two accusative words are hal 
(condition). Likewise the sentence of laysa and its effect. The meaning is "when the Event 
befalls, bringing low a group and exalting others". That is the time when the earth will be 
shaken. The majority of scholars reject that is excluded from being an adverb and they say 
regarding the first verse " verily, the word "hatta" is a participle of initiation, entering completely 
on the sentence but do not effect it In the second verse the second "itha" is a badl of the first and 
the first one is an adverb and its jawab deleted due to the understanding of the meaning. The 
lengthy wording and its implied words after the second "itha" i.e. "you are divided and you were 
in three groups , beautify it. 

Sometimes it is exclude from the future tense , then it occurs as hal e.g. the verse "wa 1-layl itha 
yaghsha" 75 (92:1). Verily, darkness is attached to the night, and the verse "wa 1-nahar itha 
tajalla" 76 , and the verse "wa 1-najm itha hawa" 77 (53:1). 

Sometimes it occurs as perfect tense e.g. the verse "wa itha ra'ou tijaratan ouw lahwan " 78 

(62:11), because the verse was revealed after seeing it and dispersing from it. Likewise the verse 
"wa la "ala allathina itha ma atouka li tahmilahum qultu la ajidu ma ahmiukum "alayhi" 79 (9:92); 
and the verse "hatta itha balagha matia^a 1-shams" 80 (18:90) and the verse "hatta itha sawa bayna 
l-sadafayn" 81 (18:96) 

72 "Till when they reached it" 

73 "When the Event befalls" 

74 "Bringing low (some) and exalting others" 

75 "By the night as it envelopes" 

76 "By the day as it appears in brightness" 

77 "By the star when it goes down" 

78 "And when they see some merchandise or some amusement 

79 "Nor (is there blame)on those who came to you to be provided with mounts, when 
you said: "I can find no mounts for you" 

80 "Until, when he came to the rising place of the sun" 

81 "Then, when he had filled up the gap between the two mountains" 

Sometimes it is excluded from being a sharf (condition) e.g the verse "wa itha ma ghadibu hum 
yaghfirun" 82 (42:37) and the verse "wa allathlna itha asabahum T-baghyu hum yantasirun" 83 
(42:39). The particle "itha" in the two verses is an adverb for the predicate of the subject, which 
f ollows it. If it was a sharf (condition) and the nominal sentence was its reply, it would have 
been connected to a letter fa. Others say : "it is assumed to be like that". Therefore it is rejected 
because it cannot be deleted unnecessary. Another view is that the pronoun is for emphasising 
the mubtada 'a (subject) and that which follows, is the reply. This is inaccurate. Another view is 
that its reply is deleted which is indicated by the sentence that follows it. This is difficult for no 
necessity at all. 


1. According to the experts, that which is in the accusative case of the particle "itha", is its sharp 
The majority are of the view that it is the reply of a verb or something similar to it. 

2. Sometimes the particle "itha" has been used for continuity of the past, present and the future 
tenses like how the imperfect verb has been used for that e.g. the verse "wa itha laqu allathlna 
amanu qalu amanna wa itha khalou ila shayapnihim qaluinna ma^akum innama nahnu 
mustahzi'un" 84 (2:14) i.e. this is their condition at all times. Likewise the verse "wa itha qamu ila 
T-salati qamu kusala" 85 (4:142) 

3. Ibn Hisham mentioned in the work 7-mughn/the paticle "ith ma" but not the particle "itha 
ma". Shaykh Baha'u T-Din mentioned it in the work ^urus l-afrah under the category of adawat 
7-shar/ (particles of condition). As for the particle "ith ma", it does not appear in the Qur'an. 
The view of Saybawlh is that it is a particle. T-Mubarrid and others said: "it is still an adverb. 
As for the particle "itha ma", it appears in the Qur'an in the verse "wa itha ghadhibu" 86 (42:37), 
the verse "itha ma atouka li tahmila hum" 87 (9:92). I did not see anyone who objected against it 
remaining to be an adverb or changed to a particle. It is possible that there are two view in regard 
to the particle "ith ma". It is possible that it may be with a sukun in spite of remaining to be an 
adverb because it is more improbable in tarkĔ> (construction) than the particle "ith ma" 

82 "And when they are angry, they forgive" 

83 "And those who, when an oppressive wrong is done to them, take revenge" 

84 "And when they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe," but when they are 
alone with their Shayafm (devils) they say: "truly, we are with you; verily, we 

were but mocking" 

85 "And when they stand up for prayer, they stand with laziness" 

86 "And when they are angry" 

87 "Nor (is there blame) on those who came to you to be provided with mounts" 

4. The particle "itha" is specially used on something that is confirmed, assumed and that occurs a 
lot unlike the particle "in" which is used for doubtful things and imaginary rare things. Therefore 
God says in the verse "itha qumtum ila 1-solat fa ighsilu" then He said "wa in kuntum junuban fa 
itjaharu" 88 (5:6). The particle "itha" is brought in ablution for its frequent occurrence and its 
multiple causes but the particle "in" is used injanabah for its rare occurrence in relation to the 
impure state. God says in the verse "fa itha jif athum 1-hasanah qalu lana hathihi wa in tusibhum 
sayyi'atun yajjayyaru" 89 (7:131) and the verse "wa itha athaqna 1-nas rahmatan farihu biha wa in 
tusibhum sayyi'atun bima qaddamat aydihimitha hum yaqna|un" 90 (30:36). The particle "itha 
was brought for something good because the bounties of God which he bestows on his slaves, 
are many and a decreed matter. The particle "in" was brought for evil because it seldom occurs 
and is doubtful. 

Two verses contradict this rule viz. the first, the verse "wa la in mittum" 91 (3:158) and the verse 
"a fa in mata" 92 (3:144). The particle "in" is brought in spite of death being a certainty. 
The other is the verse " wa itha massa 1-nas dhurrun da^ou rabbahum munibina ilayhi thumma 
itha athaqahum rahmatan itha fariqun minhum bi rabbihim yushriun" 93 (30:33). So the particle 
"itha" is brought at both sides. 1-Zamakhsharfy replied to the first by saying that because the 
time of death is unknown, it is considered to be something that is undecided. 1-Sakkakiy replied 
to the second by saying that it intends reprimand and scolding. So it brought the particle "itha"as 
a means of instilling fear in them and informing them that they certainty taste some punishment. 
The meaning of some is derived from the word "1-mass" and the indefiniteness of the word 

"When you intend to offer prayers then wash your faces and hands and if you 

are in a state otjanabah (after sexual discharge), purify yourselves" 

89 "But whenever good came to them, they said: "ours is this". And if evil afflicted 
them, they ascribed it to the evil omens" 

90 "And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein; but when 
some evil afflicts them because of (evil deeds and sins) that their own hands have 

sent forth, behold , they are in despair" 

91 "And whether you die" 

92 "If he dies" 

93 "And when harm touches men, they cry sincerely only to their Lord, turning to him 
in repentance; but when He gave them a taste of His Mercy, behold , a party of 

them associates partners in worship with their Lord" 

As for the verse "wa itha an^amna "ala 1-insan a^radha wa na'a bi janibihi wa itha massahu T- 
sharr fathu ckf a'in ^aridh" 94 (41:51). It was replied to it that the pronoun in the word "massahu" 
refers to a person who turns away and who is filled with pride, not to any person. The particle 
"itha" is brought as a warning that for this person who turns away, is an evil punishment which 
will certainly afflict him. 

T-Khuwayyl said: "according to me, it is permissible that the particle "itha" enters upon certainty 
as well as doubtful things because it is an adverb and a sharf (condition). As for being an 
adverb, it enters upon certainty like all other adverbs. 

5. The particle "itha" differs with the particle "in" also in giving the meaning of 7-\/m«m 
(generality). Ibn TJsfur said: "if you say 'when Zayd is standing, x Amr is standing', it conveys 
the meaning of whenever Zayd stands, "Amr stands". He said that this is correct. In the particle 
"anna" which is mashruj (conditioned) by it, if it is non-existent the reply follows immediately. 
In the particle "in", it does not occur unless despair in its existence materialised. In the particle 
"an" , its reply follows its shar/when it is joined. It is not advanced nor delayed unlike the 
particle "in". In the particle "anna", whatever it enters upon cannot get a sukun because it cannot 
bring a sharp 


It has been said: "sometime the particle "itha" is just an extra word". He elucidated the verse "itha 
T-sama'u inshaqqat" 95 (84:1) i.e. the heaven split asunder like the verse "iqtarabat T-sa"ah" 96 

94 "And when We show favour to man, he withdraws and turns away; but when evil 
touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications" 

95 "When the heaven is split asunder" 

96 "The Hour has drawn near" 

Section 76:page 145 Vol.4 
The Script of the Qu'ran and the etiquettes of writing 

A number of people, both past and present, have compiled separate works on 
this topic. Abu 7\mr 'l-Danl is among them. Abu 'l-'Abbas 'l-Marakishl compiled a work 
titled ^Unwan 1-Dallil tlmarstim khaf 1-Tanzil in which he addressed the question of the 
script of the Quran and its differences with the rules of the Arabic script. He explained 
that the written form of the letters would vary because of variations in the meaning of 
their words. Hereunder I will, God willing, point to its objectives. 

On the authority of his own chain of transmitters Ibn Ashtah in the work 1-MasaM 
quotes Ka^b 'l-Ahbar as saying that: "The first person to compile an Arabic, a Syriac, 
and in fact, all scripts was Adam (s), three hundred years prior to his death. He wrote 
them in clay and then had them baked. When the earth was overcome by the Flood 
(those tablets were dispersed) and each community received its script which it then 
used for writing. IsmaTI b. Ibrahlm received the script of the Arabs." 

He also quoted Ibn 'Abbas, on the authority of 'Ikrima, as saying: "The first to 
coin the Arabic script was IsmaTI. He compiled the entire script, its shape and its logic, 
and then streamlined it without any spacing between the letters. His son therearter 
inserted spaces between the letters. In other words, all the latters in the script were 
conjoined, without any spaces; then his sons, Humas^a and Qaizhar inserted spaces. 
He also reports on the authority of SaTd b. Jubair that Ibn 'Abbas who said: "The first 
script that God sent down from the Heavens was that of the Arabic alphabet." 

Ibn Faris said: "We maintain that the script has divine origins because of God, 
Almighty's statement:' allama 'l-insan ma lam yalam"^^) 1 and "Nun! wa 'l-qalam wa 
ma yasjurun" 2 (68:1) These letters are included in the names that God taught Adam.. 
Much has been reported about the letters of the alphabet (abjad letters) and the 
beginnings of writing, but this is not the place to discuss it. I have however, done so 
exhaustively in a separate work. 

^"(He) taught with a pen, taught man that which he knew not" 
2 "Nun! By the Pen and that which they write." 


One rule in Arabic is that words be written using the alphabet, and that care be 
taken in beginning and ending with them. The grammarians have established principles 
and rules for this very purpose. The Qu'ran of Uthman has, in some cases, contradicted 
these principles and rules. Ashhab (b. 'Abd 'l-7\ziz) said that on being asked if the 
Qu'ran may be written in the script that people recently compiled Malik (b. Anas) replied: 
"No! It can only be written using the traditional script". This was reported by 'l-Dani in the 
work 1-Muqni\ Ashhab went on to say that there was no objection on the part of the 
scholars to this. 

In another place he said: "Malik, when asked if the letters waw and alif, wherever 
found in the Scripture, may be changed, said: "No!" Abu N Amr said that this referred to 
that waw and alif which appears in words but is not pronounced. An example is the waw 
as it appears in the word "'ulu Imam Ahmad (b. Hanbal) said: "It is unlawful to 
contradict the standardized Mushaf (Uthman's version of the Scripture) in regard to the 
writing of the waw, the ya, the alif, etc. 

Baihaqi in the work, Shu'b 1-lman said: "Whoever writes the Scripture must follow 
the alphabet used in these other texts." He should neither contradict nor make the 
smallest change in what they have written. After all, they were more knowledgeable, 
more truthful in heart and mind, and more trustworthy than us. It thus, does not behoove 
us to think of ourselves as worthy of sitting in judgement of them. 

Hereunder, I set out rules pertaining to: omitted letters, added letters, the use of 
the letter hamza, inverted letters, separated letters, and letters that allow two forms of 
recital, of which only one is written. 
Rule One: The Omission of letters 

The alif is omitted in the following cases: 
i-When it is attached to the ya' of the vocative as in Ya ayyuha 'l-Nas; Ya Adam; Ya 
'Ibadi ;and Ya Rabb! 

ii-When it is attached to the ha' of the premonitory particle as in ha'ula'i, and ha 'antum. 
iii-When it is attached to the pronoun na, as in anjainakum, and atainahu. 
To this category belong the words: 'ula'ika, lakin, and tabaraka together with their four 
subcategories. Also, the words Allah and llah wherever they appear. And the words 'I- 

Rahman and subhana except in the verse: "subhana rabbi" 3 (17:93) 

iv-After the letter lam as in: khalaita, khilata rasul Allah, salam, ghularm, li'ilaf and yulaqu. 

v-Between to larms as in 'l-kalala, 'l-Dalala, khilal 'l-Diyar, Lalladhi bi Bakka. 

vi-ln every name having more than three letters, as in Ibrahim, Salih, Mikail. This 

however, is not the case with Jalut, Talut, Haman, Ya'juj, and Ma'juj. Dawud is included 

herein because of the omission of its alif and lsra'il because of the omission of its ya. 

Scholars differ with regard to the words Harut, Marut, and Qamn. 

vii-ln every dual form of both verbs and nouns when not at the beginning or end of a 

word. Examples are: rajulan, yu'allimani, 'ad'allana, and 'in hadhane. An exception to this 

rule is the word yadaka in the verse "bima qaddamat yadaka" (10:22) 

viii-ln all masculine as well as feminine, sound plurals, such as: alla^inun and mulaqu 

rabbihim. Exceptions to this rule are the following: the word jagiin in 'l-Dhariyat and 'I- 

Tur; the words kiraman katibin (11:82) and raudat in Shura. The words ayat li 'l-sailin, 

makr fi 'ayatina, and ayatuna bayyinat in Yunus. Also excluded are words wherein the alif 

is followed by a hamza as in: 'l-saimin wa '1-sa'imat, or by a shadda as in 'l-Dallin and 'I- 

saffat. A second alif in such a word will also be omitted, except for verse 12, sab^a 

samawat in Fussilat. 

ix-ln every plural that takes the matail or some similar form. Examples are: 'l-masajid, 

masakin, 'l-yatama, 'l-Nasara, 'l-masakin, '1-khaba'ith, 'l-malaika. Wherever the word 

khajayana appears the second alif will be omitted. 

x-ln every word depicting a number such as thalatha and thulatha. And the word sahir 

except at the end of 1-DhaTiyat. If the word is in the dual however, then both its alifs are 

omitted. The alif of the following words, when in the indefinite form, will also be omitted: 

'l-qiyarma, 'l-shaijan, suljan, ta^ala, allati, alla'i, khaliq, 'alim, qadir. The words 'l-ashab, 'I- 

anhar and 'l-kitab. This applies to the indefinite forms of these words as well, except in 

the following cases: "Li kulli ajal Kitab", "Kitab malum" "Kitab rabbika", in Kahf, and 

"Kitab mubin" in 1-Naml. Also omitted is the alif of the basmala, including the verse: 

"Bism Allah majreha" 4 (11:41), and the first letter of the imperative form of the verb 

Say! Limitless in His Glory is my Lord! 

4 "In the name of God be its run" 


xi-ln every word having two or three alifs together as in: Adam, akhar, 'a'ashfaqtum, and 

'a'andhartum. Also omitted is the alif in the word raa except in the case of ma raa, and 

wa laqad raa as found in 1-Najm, and the word 'al-'an except in the verse: "fa man 

yastami' al'ana" 5 (72:9). And the two alifs of the word 1-'aika except in the chapters, 'I- 

Hijr and Qaf. 

xii-The ya of a defective noun having a nunation in the nominative and the accusative 

cases, as in the verse: "bagh wa la 'ad" (173:2) The same is true in if such a word forms 

part of the vocative idafa construction, except in the case of the verses: "Ya 'ibadiya 

alladhina asrafu" 6 (53:39) and "ya 'ibadiya alladhina amanu" 7 , in 1-^Ankabut. It is omitted 

even when not part of the vocative, except in the case of the verses: "wa qul li 'ibadi" 

and "asri bi 'ibadi, as found in Taha and Harmirm respectively. Also included is the verse: 

"fa 'udkhuli fi ^ibadi wa udkhuli jannati" 8 (89:29) 

xiii-lt is also omitted if it appears along with another ya as in: waliyyin, 'l-hawariyyin and 

muttakiln. Exceptions to this rule are: 'illiyyin, wayuhayyi', hayyi', 'l-makr 'l-sayyi', 

sayyi'at, 'l-sayyi'at, and af alna. Also included is the word yuhyi, not singly, but when 

attached to a pronoun. 

Xiv-The ya' is also omitted wherever the following words occur: 'atPun, fa ittaqun, 

khafun, fa irhabun, fa arsilun, fa'u'budun except in , Ya Sin, wa ikhsauni except in 'I- 

Baqara; yakidun except in fa kiduni jamf an, fa'ittabi'uni except in Al 'Irmran and Taha, fa 

la tundhimn, la tasta^jilun, la takfurun, la taqrabun, la tukhziin, la tafd'ahun, yahdiyani, 

sayahdin, kadhdhabun, yaqtulun, an yukadhdhibun, waTd, 'l-jawar, bi 'l-wad, and 'I- 

muhtadun, except in 'l-ATaf. 

xv-The waw when it appears twice is omitted as in la yastawun, fa'u, wa 'idh 'I- 

mauudatu, yausa. 

5 "Who now or ever tries to listen" 

6 "0! my servants (ya 'ibadiya) who have been excessive. . ." 

7 "0! my servants (ya 'ibadiya) who proclaim faith. . ." 

8 "Now therefore, enter into the ranks of my servants and enter my Paradise." 

xvi-The lam which is incorporated (mudgham) is omitted as in 'l-lail, alladhl, illa, Allah, 

allahumma, allaYiatu and its derivates, 'l-lahwu, 'l-laghwu, '1-lu'lu', 'l-lat, 'l-lamam, 'I- 

lahab, 'l-lapf, and 'l-lawarma. 


Omissions that do not follow this Rule 

The alif is omitted from: malik 'l-Mulk; dhurriyatan dTafan; muraghaman; 
khadi^uhum; akkalun li 'l-suht; baligh; li yujadilukum; wa bajilun ma kanu ya^malun in 'I- 
ATaf and Hud; 'l-mf ad as in 'l-Anfal; turaban, in '1-Ra'd 'l-Naml, and 7\mma, judhadhan, 
yusarPuna, ayyuha '1-muYriinun, ya ayyuha 'l-sahir, ayyuha 'l-thaqalan, ummi Musa 
farigha, wa hal nujazl, man huwa kadhibun, li 'l-qasiyat, in 'l-Zumr, atharatin, 'ahada 
alaihu Allah, and wa la kidhdhaba. 

The ya is omitted from: ibrahlm in Baqara, and wa '1-da'i idha da^ani; wa man 
ittaba^ani, saufa yu'Q Allah, wa qad hadan, nunjl '1-mu'minln, fa la tas'alni ma laisa, 
yaumaya'ti latakallamu, hatta tu'taunl mauthiqan, tufannidun, '1-muta'al, rmatab, maab 
and 'iqab, in Ra^d, and Ghafir; flha 'adhab, ashraktumunl min qabl, taqabbal du'a'i, la'in 
akhkhartani, and yahdiyani. From Kahf the following five: 'in taranl, an yu'tiyanl, an 
tu^allimani, and nabghl. From Taha the ya' of the following verse is omitted: alla 
tattabi^anl. Also the following: wa 'l-bad, inna Allaha lahad, an yahd'urun, rabbi 'inTun, 
wa la tukallimun, yasqln, yashfin, yuhyln, wad 'l-naml, 'atumiddunani, fa ma ataniya, 
tashhadun, bi had 'l-'umyi, ka 'l-jawab, in yuridn 'l-Rahman, la yunqidhun, fa isma^un, 
laturdln, sal 'l-jahlm, 'l-talaq, 'l-tanad, tarjumun, fa iTazilun, yunad 'l-munadi, li yaTjudun, 
tuf imun, yad^u 'l-da v i twice in Qamar; yasri, akramani, ahanan, waliya dln. 

The waw is omitted in the following cases: wa yad^u 'l-lnsan, wa yamhu Allah, in 
Shura, yaumayad^u '1-da'i, sanad^u 'l-zabaniya. Marraklshl said: The secret in omitting 
the waw in these four places is to illustrate the quickness of the act, the ease with which 
the subject will perform, and the severity of its occurrence on one who is so afflicted. 
And in the verse: "wa yad^u 'l-insan" the omission illustrates the fact that this 
supplication would be easy for man, who will hasten towards it as he hastens towards 
things that are good for him. In fact, man, in terms of his natural tendencies, is closer to 
evil than he is to good. In the verse: "wa yarmhu Allah 'l-Batil" the omission alludes to the 
speed with which evil disappears and shrinks. In the verse: "yad^u '1-daT' the omission 

alludes to the swittness of the supplication as well as the response to the supplicants. 

And in the last verse, (sanad^u 'l-zabaniya) the omission alludes to the swittness of the 

(reckoning), the quick response of the angels of Hell, and the severity of the strike (on 

those destined for hell). 

Rule Two 

The Addition of Letters 

The alif has been added to the waw in plural nouns such as ya Bani lsra'il, 
mulaqu rabbihim, and 'ulu 'l-albab as opposed to singular nouns such as la dhu N ilm. The 
exception to this however, are the words, 'l-riba, and in imru'un halaka. The alif is also 
added at the end of singular and plural nouns, in the nominative and the accusative 
cases, except in the case of jauka, and bau wherever they occur. Also excluded are 
'atau 'utuwwan, fa 'in fa'u, wa alladhina tabawwa'u 'l-dara, 'asa Allahu an yaTuwa 
'anhum in 'l-Nisa, and sa^au fi ayatina in Saba'. 

After the inscribed hamza a waw is added as in tafta'u, mi'a, mi'atain, 'l-dhanuna, 
'l-rasula, 'l-sabila, wa la taqiilanna li shay'in, la adhbahannahu, la auda^u lakum, 'a la ila 
Allah, la ila 'l-jahim, la tay'asu min rauh Allah, innahu la yay'asu, a fa lam yay'as. 

An alif is inserted between the ya and the jlrm in ji'a, in 'l-Zumar and 'l-Fajr. The 
word ibn is always written with a hamza. A ya' is also added to naba' 'l-mursalin, 
mala'ihi, mala'ihim, min anai 'l-lail in Taha, min tilqa'i nafsi, min wara'i hijab in Shura, 'ita'i 
dhi 'l-qurba in 'l-Nahl, wa^duhu wa lakin in 'l-Rurm, bi ayyikum 'l-maftun, banainaha bi aid, 
afa'in mata, afa'in mitta. The waw is added to 'ulu and its derivatives and to sa'urikum. 

Murrakishi said: "Just as these letters have been added to words such as ji'a, 
naba'i and the like to rmenace, show deference to, threaten and promise, so too, have 
the y been added to the word bi aydin to glorify God's power through which He made 
the Heavens, which in terms of power, are without equal.. 

Kirmani in the work 1-^Ajaib said: "Prior to the advent of the Arabic script the 
shape of the fatha was in the form of the alif , the d'amma in the form of the waw, and the 
kasra in the form of the ya. Thus, because of their proximity to the era of the first form of 
writing words such as la auda^u and so on are written with an alif. instead of the fatha. 
Also, ita'i dhi 'l-qurba is written with a ya instead of a kasra and 'ulaika and so on are 
written with a waw instead of a d'amma.Rule Three 

The Hamza 

The vowel-less hamza, which may appear at the beginning, the rmiddle, or the 
end, will contorm to the vowel of the letter preceding it. Thus: i'dhan, 'u'tumina, '1-ba'sa, 
iqra', ji'naka, hayyi', '1-mu'tun, and tasu'uhum. In the tollowing cases, however, it is 
omitted: fa iddara'tum, ri'ya', li '1-ru'ya', sha^ahu. It is also omitted after the fa' at the 
beginning of an imperative as in fa'tu, and after the waw as in wa'tamiru. 

As for the vowelled hamza, if it appears at the beginning of a word, or is attached 
to supplementary letter then it is always written on the alif as in Ayyub, 'idha, 'ulu, 
s'asrifu, fabi'ayyi, and sa'unzilu. Exceptions to this appear in the following places: 
'a'innakum latashhaduna, and 'alnnakum la takfumna, and 'a'innakum lata'tuna in 'I- 
Naml and 'l-'Ankabut, 'a'inna lamukhrajuna, 'a'inna latariku and 'a'inna lana in '1-Shu'ara. 
Also: 'a'idha mitna, 'a'in dhukkirtum, 'a'ifkan, 'a'imma, li'alla, la'in, yauma'idhin, hina'idhin 
are all written with a ya\ except in qul 'a'unabbi'ukum, and ha'ula'i when they are written 
with a waw. 

If it appears in the middle of the word it will be placed on the letter that conforms 
to its vowel, for example sa'ala, su'ila, naqra'uhu. But this is not the case with jaza'uhu 
appearing in three places in Yusuf, and the words la'amla'anna, 'imtala'ati, ishma'azzat 
and imna'annu. This rule also does not apply if the hamza has a fatha and the letter prior 
to it is given a kasra, or a d'amma. Also, where the hamza has a damma and the letter 
prior to it a kasra then it will be written in conformity to that letter. For example '1-khap'a, 
fu'adaka, sanuqri'uka. If the previous letter is vowel-less, the hamza will be omitted, as 
in yus'al, la taj'aru, except in the case of '1-nash'a and mau'ila, both in 'l-Kahf. 

As mentioned previously, if the hamza is preceded by an alif with a fatha then the 
letter resembling the hamza will be omitted because it has becorme attached to a letter 
identical to it. One example is the word abnaana. Also omitted is the alif in the word 
Qu'ranan as found in Yusuf and Zukhruf. 

If the hamza with a damma or a kasra is preceded by an alif then it is not omitted 
as in abaukum, abaihim, except wa qala auliyauhum, ila auliyaihim in '1-An'arm and 
auliyauhu in 'l-'Anfal, and nahnu auliyaukum in Fussilat. 

As mentioned previously, when the hamza appears after a word that resembles it 
then it is omitted as in shanaan, khasi'in, mustahziuna. If it appears at the end then it 

assumes the vowels of the letter preceding it as in sab'a, shajn, lu'lu'u. Exceptions are 
the tollowing: tafta'u, yatafayya'u, 'atawakka'u, tazrma'u, maya'ba'u, yabda'u, 
yunashsha'u, yadhra'u, naba'un, the first qala '1-mala'u in qad aflaha, and all three in 'I- 
Naml, jaza'u in five places: twice in 'l-Maida, in 'l-Zumr, 'l-Shura, and 'l-Hashr, shurakau 
in '1-An'am, and 'l-Shura, ya'tihim anba'u in '1-An'am; 'ularma bani, min 'ibadi 'l-'ulama'u, 
'l-d'u'afa'u in Ibrahim and Ghafir, fi amwalina ma nashau, ma du N a'u in Ghafir, shufa'a'u in 
'l-Rurm, inna hadha lahuwa 'l-balau, balaun mubin in 'l-Dukhan, bura'a'u minkum. In all 
the foregoing cases the hamza is written on the waw. 

If the letter preceding it is vowel-less then the hamza is omitted as in mil'u 'l-'ard, 
d'if'un, shay'in, '1-khab'u and maa. Farra has made the following omissions: latanuu, wa 
an tabua, and '1-su'a. I however, maintain that these three ought not to be omitted 
because the alif after the waw is not in the form of the hamza, but is added to the waw 
of the verb. 
Rule Four 

To show stress, the waw in the following cases substitutes for the alif: : '"l-salat, 'I- 
zakat, 'l-hayat, and 'l-riba~except where these occur as part of the id'afa construction~'l- 
gadat, mishkat, 'l-najat, and manat. 

A ya' substitutes for every alif that has been changed from it as in yatawaffakum. 
This occurs in both nouns as well as verbs, with or without an attached pronoun or a 
vowel. To this category belong ya hasrata and ya asafa, but not tatra. Other examples 
are: kilta, hadani, wa man 'asani, 'l-aqsa, aqsa 'l-madina, man tawallahu, jagha '1-ma'a, 
and simahum. Also excluded are words in which the alif is preceded by a ya as in 'I- 
dunya, 'l-hawaya, except the word yahya in the form of a noun or a verb. 

The following words will be written with a ya': ila, 'ala, 'anna meaning how, mata, 
bala, hatta. An exception is lada 'l-bab. Triliteral words, both nouns and verbs, that end 
in a waw will be written with an alif as in 'l-safa, shafa, 'afa, ma zaka minkum, dahaha, 
talaha, tahaha, and saja. The word duha wherever it appears is an exception to this rule. 

The non stressed niin of emphasis will be written with an alif as in lanasfa'an, 
yakunan, and idhan. It will also be written with a niin as in ka 'ayyin. 

And the feminine ha will be written except: in the case of rahmat as appears in 

the tollowing chapters: Baqara, 'AYaf, Hud, Maryam, Rum and Zukhruf; nPrmat as 
appears in Baqara, al 'Imran, Ma'ida, Ibrahim, Nahl, Luqman, Fajir, and Tur; sunnat as 
appears in Anfal, Fajir, and for the second time in Ghafir, imra'at when coupled with its 
partner, tammat kalimatu rabbika 'l-husna, fa naf al la^nat Allah, wa 'l-kharmisata an 
la^nat Allah; the word ma^siyat as appears Qad SamPa, inna shajarat 'l-Zaqqum, 
qurratu ayn, jannt naTrm, baqiyyatullahi, ya abati, allat, mardati, hayhata, dhata, ibnat, 
and fijrat. 
Rule Five 
Disjunctions and Conjunctions 

The words 'an and la will be conjoined except in the following ten cases: an la 
aqtila and an la taqulu in ATaf, an la malja'a in Hud, an la ilaha, an la ta^budu illa Allah, in 
Ahqaf, an la tushrik in Hajj, an la ta^budu in Ya Sln, an la talu in Dukhkhan, an la 
yushrikna in Mumtahina, and an la yadkhulanna in Nun. 

The words min and ma will be conjoined except in min ma malakat in Nisa' and 
Rum, min ma razaqnakum in Munafiqun, and min man, in all places. The following are 
also conjoined: 'an and ma except in 'an ma nuhu; in and ma with a kasra except in the 
case wa in ma nuriyannaka in Ra^d; in ma with a fatha in all cases; 'an and man except 
in wa yasrifuhu 'an man yasha' in Nur, 'an man tawalla in Najm; 'am and man except 
in the case am man yakunu in Nisa, am man assasa, am man khalaqna in Saffat, am 
man ya'ti aminan; in and lam with a kasra except fa in lam yastajlbu in Qasas; the fi and 
ma except in the following eleven places: the second fl ma fa v alna in Baqara, li 
yabluwakum in Ma'ida and An^am, qul la ajidu, fi ma ishtahat in Anbiya', fi ma afad'tum, fi 
ma hahuna in Shu^ara, fi ma razaqnakum in Rum, fi ma hum fihi, fi ma kanu fihi, both in 
Zumar, wa nunshi'akum fi ma la talamiin in Waqi'a; the words inna and ma except in 
inna ma tu^aduna in An^am; anna with a fatha and ma except in anna ma yad^una in 
Luqman and Hajj; kullu and ma except kulla ma ruddu ila 'ITitnati, and min kulli ma 
sa'altumuhu; bi'sa and ma except when attached to the letter lam, the words ni^imma, 
mahma, rubbama, ka'annama, and way ka'anna. 

The following words are disjoined: haithu and ma, an with a fatha and lam, an and 
lan except in Kahf and Qiyama; ayna and ma except in fa aynama tuwallu and ainama 
yuwajjihhu. There is some dispute about aina ma takunu and ainama kuntum ta^buduna 

in Shif ara . Also disjoined are ainarma thuqifu in Ahzab, likai la except in al 'Imran, Hajj, 

Hadld, and the second occurrence in 'Ahzab; Yauma hum, latahlna, and ibn umma 

except in Taha where the hamza is written on a waw, and the hamza of ibn is omitted 

to becorme yabna'umma. 

Rule Six 

Where two Recitations exist and the Script Follows one of Them 

We mean hereby recitations other than those that are deermed rare. To them 
belong the following: maliki yaum 'l-dln, yukhadPuna, wa^adna, 'l-sa"iqa, 'l-riyah, 
tufaduhum, taiahamn, wa la tuqatiluhum, laula daf u, farihanun, and ja'iran. And in al 
'Imran and Maida the word muda'afa. Other words include: 'aqadat aimanakum, 'I- 
'awwalln, lamastum, qasiyatan, qiyaman, khap'atikum, ta'if, hasha li Allahl, wa sayalamu 
'l-kuffar, tazawaru, zakiyatan, fala tusahibnl, la ittakhadhta, mihad, waharam 'ala qaryat, 
inna Allah yudafPu, sukara, wa ma hum bi sukara, 'l-mudghata 'iiama, fa kasauna 'I- 
'iiama, siraja, bal iddaraka, wa la tusa^ir, rabbana ba^id, asawiratan; all of the above are 
written without the aliMheir recitation however, is both with and without the alif. 

The following whilst written only with a ta' are nonetheless recited both in the 
plural as well as the singular forms: ghayabat 'l-jubb, 'unzila alaihi ayat, in 'Ankabut, 
thamarat min akmamiha in Fussilat, jimalat, fahum 'ala bayyinat, and wa hum fi 'l-ghurufat 
aminiin. Also: taqiyyatan with a ya', li'ahaba with an alif, yaqd'i 'l-haqq without an alif in 
yaqd'i, 'itunl zubura 'l-hadld with an alif only, nunji '1-mu'minln with a single nun only, 'I- 
sirat wherever it appears, basja in 'A>af, 'l-musaijirun and musaijir written with a sad only 
and not with any other letter. Sometimes a word is written such that it allows both 
recitations as in the word fakihun whose alif is dropped because it is a sound plural. 
Rule Six on the Script of the Qu'ran 
That which is Written in Accordance with the Rare Recitations 

In this category are the verses "awa kullama 'ahadu" and "inna 'l-baqara 
tashabaha 'alaina". As for the ba'\r\ the verse "ma baqiya min 'l-riba" it is written with a 
damma and the waw is vowelless. Also in this category are: "falaqatalukum"; innama 
jalruhum; ja'iruhu fl 'unuqihl'; tusaqij; samiran; wa fisaluhu fi 'amain; 'alaihim thiyab 
sundusin khudrin; khitamuhu misk; and fa udkhull fl 'ibadl. 

As for the variant readings, those that which are known for additions that are not 
written, as in: ausa, wa wassa, tajri tahtaha, wa min tahtiha, sayaquluna Allah, lillahi, wa 
ma N amilat aydihim, wa ma 'amilathu, All of this is found in the lmam's copies of the 

Because the shapes of the letters are widely recognized the script of the opening 
letters of the chapters follow such patterns rather than the sounds they emit. The 
opening letters harmlrm and 'ainsinqaf are separated, but not aliflammlmsad and 
kafhaya'ainsad: this is consonant with the previous six chapters that begin with similar 
Section: The Etiquettes of Writing 

Embellishing the script of the Qu'ran, writing legibly, clearly, and meticulously is 
recommended. Appending it and writing it in miniature form is disapproved. Abu 'Ubaid 
in his work 1-Fada1l reports that 'Urmar took exception to a man bearing a Qu'ran 
scripted in fine writing and he therefore beat him. He then said: Magnify the Book of 
God." And 'Umar was gratified to see a Qu'ran in bold script. 'Abd 'l-Razzaq reports that 
'Ali disapproved of the Qu'ran being miniaturized. Abu 'Ubaid reports that he also 
disapproved of the Qu'ran being written on something small. He along with Baihaqi 
report in the work Shu^ub 1-'lman that Abu Hakimat 'l-'Abdi as having said: "'Ali passed 
by me while I was writing the Qu'ran and said: "Make your script legible" So I sharpened 
my pen somewhat and began writing He then said: "Yes! Illuminate it thus just as God 
has." Baihaqi quotes a mauquf tradition quoting 'Ali as having said: "A man was 
pardoned on account of the great pride he took in writing 'ln the Name of God, the 
Beneficent, the Merciful' 

On the authority of a marfu' tradition as narrated by Aban, Abu Nu^aim reports in 
the work Tarlkh Istahan as does Ibn Ashtah in 1-MasaM that Anas b. Malik said: "God 
will forgive one who embellishes the statement 'ln the Name of God the Beneficent, the 
Merciful". Ibn Ashtah also reports that 'Umar b. 'Abd 'l-'Aziz wrote to his officials 
saying: "When one of you writes Bism Allah 'l-Rahman 'l-Rahim then let him lengthen 
the word 'l-Rahman. And he reports that Zaid b. Thabit disliked that Bism Allah 'l-Rahman 
'l-Rahim be written with the letter sln not legible. He also reports from Yazid b. Abu 

Hablb that when writing to 'Urmar 7\mr b. 'l-'As's scribe neglected to write the letter sin 
in the basmala. 'Urmar then beat him. On being asked why the Prince of the Faithful 
beat him, he said: "on account of the sln\" He also reports that Ibn Slrln disliked 
lengthening the ba' and attaching it to the mlm without the sln. 

Ibn Abu Dawud reports in the work 1-MasaM that Ibn Slrln disapproved of 
lengthening the script of the Qu'ran. When asked why, the narrator replied that it was a 
kind of imperfection. Using impure material to write is also prohibited. Using gold, is 
praiseworthy, as pointed out by Ghazzall. But Abu 'Ubaid reports that Ibn 'Abbas and 
Abu Dharr Ghifarl and Abu Darda' disliked this practice. He also reports that a copy of 
the Qur'an embellished with gold came under Ibn Mas'ud's scrutiny, and he said: "The 
best way of embellishing the Qur'an is through recitation with conviction. Our 
Companions have said: "Inscribing it on walls and fences is reprehensible, but doing so 
on roofs is even more so." This is because it is walked upon. Abu 'Ubaid quotes 

'Umar b. 'Abd 'l-'Azlz as saying: "Do not write the Qur'an in places that are trodden 

What of using a script other than Arabic? Zarakashl has said: "I have not seen 
any discussion by the scholars on this topic. But it seerms to be acceptable", he said, " 
because one who is able to recite it in Arabic will do even better thereby." But in keeping 
with the rule prohibiting its recitation in any language other than Arabic, this too, would 
seem to be prohibited. This is further supported by their statement: "The pen is one of 
two forms of speaking!" And the Arabs knew no written script other than Arabic. And the 
Almighty has said: "In the plain Arabic language." (42:195) 

Ibn Abu Dawud reports from Ibrahlm 'l-Taiml that 'Abd Allah (ibn 'Abbas) said: 
"The Qur'an should be penned in none other than the Mudarl dialect." Ibn Abu Dawud 
said: "This is of the most noble dialects (of the Arabic language)" 

Opinions differ on who first inserted the diacritical marks and the desinential 
inflections in the Qu'ran. Some say that the first to do so was Abu 'l-Aswad '1-Du'all 
under the directive of 'Abd 'l-Malik b. Marwan, others that it was Hasan 'l-Basrl and 
Yahya b. Ya^mar, and others still, that it was Nasr b. 'Asim 'l-Laithl. 

As for the hamza (the character designating the glottal stop), the shadda (the 
doubling sign over the consonant), the ru'm (the slurring of the final vowel) and the 
ishmarm (a sound between the kasra and the d'amma) Khalll (the grammarian) is said to 
have added them. 

According to Qatada: "They first introduced the dots; then verses in groups of five 
were demarcated followed by groups of ten. Another scholar maintained: "The first 
innovation in the script of the Qu'ran was the insertion of diacritical dots at the end of the 
verse, followed by the dots of the opening, and the closing statements. 

Yahya b. Abu Kathlr, in a report narrated by Ibn Abu Dawud said: "The 
Companions new nothing of the innovations that were introduced in the Qu'ran except 
for the three dots that appear at the head of the verses. 

Abu 'Ubaid and others report Ibn Mas^ud as having said: "Maintain the purity of 
the Qu'ran; do not adulterate it with anything.' It is reported that NakhaT disliked putting 
diacritical marks on the Qu'ran; Ibn Sirln disliked putting diacritical marks, opening, and 
closing markers in the Qu'ran; and Ibn Mas^ud and Mujahid disliked the insertion of the 
word ^ushr into the Qur'an 

Ibn Abu Dawud reports that NakhaT disliked: inserting the word ^ushr, and the 
opening markers into the Qur'an, reducing its size, and inserting the names of the 
chapters. Once, on being presented with a copy of the Qu'ran with its chapter names 
inserted he said: "Erase it, for Ibn Mas^ud disliked this." It is also reported that Abu 'I- 
'Aliya disliked inserting additional sentences into the Qur'an, and inserting chapter 
names, and opening and closing markers. 

Malik said: "Inserting diacritical marks in copies of the Qu'ran that are used to 
teach children is unobjectionable, but not those recited by their mothers. Hulaiml said: 
In light of the statement: "maintain the purity of the Qu'ran" it is undesirable to insert the 
a^shar, the akhmas, the chapter names and the verse numbers in the Qur'an. But 
diacritical marks are acceptable, for they have no form that may create the impression 
that material extraneous to the Qu'ran are part thereof. Their purpose is rmerely to point 
to the structure of the recited text, which is why its insertion is unobjectionable in the 
case of one who is in need of it. 

Baihagi said: "One of the etiguettes of the Qu'ran is that it be emboldened, and 

thus be written clearly in the best possible script. Its letters should not be written small 
or in half size, or mixed with other script such as the numbers of the verses, the signs of 
prostration, the markers indicating one tenth, the pauses, the variant recitations, or the 
commentaries of the verses. Ibn Abu Dawud quotes Hasan and Ibn Slrln as having 
said: "The insertion of the diacritical marks inthe Quran is all right" 

He also reports that Rabf a b. Abu 7\bd 'l-Rahman said: "Inserting the vowel 
points is all right" Nawawi said: "Inserting the vowel signs and the diacritical marks is in 
fact a praiseworthy act for it acts as a protection from wrongful and distorted 
recitations." Ibn Mujahid said: "It is important not to insert diacritical marks except on 
letters that allow them. Danl said: "I will not consent to writing the diacritiical marks in 
black, because this distorts the text of the Qu'ran, nor will I permit putting the variant 
readings together in a single copy of the Qu'ran in multi colors. This I believe is the 
greatest form of corrupting the text and the script. I would prefer that the diacritical 
marks, the diptote (tanwln), the doubling sign (tashdld), the vowel-less sign (sukun), and 
the sign of elongation (madd) be written in red, whilst the hamza be written in yellow." 

From among our Companions, Jurjanl in the work 1-Shafl, had this to say: 
"Writing the commentary of the words of the Qu'ran between the lines is a reprehensible 

During the first era the vowels were indicated by way of dots: thus, the fatha was 
indicated by way of a dot on the beginning of the letter, the d'amma by a dot on the end 
of the letter, and the kasra by a dot below the beginning of the letter. This was the 
method adopted by Danl. The form that is popular today, that of assigning diacritical 
marks taken from the words themselves, was introduced by Khalll the grammarian. It is 
clearer, by far, and adopted universally. In this case the fatha is represented by a long 
mark over the letter, the kasra is the same but below the letter, and the d'amma is a 
miniature waw above the letter, while the diptote is the doubled form of the same signs. 
If however, the letter belonged to the izha~r category, appearing that is, in front of a throat 
letter (ha, kha, ha, hamza, 'ain and ghain) then the sign shall be placed above the two 
words; otherwise, in between. The omitted alif (alif mahdhufa) and its antecedent 
(mubdal minhu) shall be written in red while the omitted hamza (hamza mahdhufa) shall 

be written alone, and not on any letter, and it shall be written in red as well. On the nun 
and the diptote the sign of inversion falama 'l-iqlab) the 'mlm' shall also be written in 
red. The hamza that is in front of a throat letter shall remain vowel-less, but it will be 
pronounced when incorporated (idgham) and silent (ikhfa). The hamza shall accept the 
sukun sign where necessary, it shall be silent when incorporated, it shall be doubled 
therearter, except in the case of the letter \a' appearing in front of the letter ta'. In the 
latter case, a sukun will be placed upon it. An example, is the word farrafiu (39:56) The 
madd letter must not be lengthened more than the equivalent of a vowel. 

Harbl in the work Gharlb 'l-Hadlth said: "Ibn Mas'ud's statement that the Qu'ran 
be left pure could mean one of two things: firstly, that the purity of its recitation be 
maintained, not be mixed with something else, and secondly, that its script, be free from 
diacritical marks and the tashir signs. 

Baihaql said: "Most likely, he meant that it not be mixed up with other scriptures, 
for apart from the Quran, these are all received from the Jews and the Christians; and 
they cannot be trusted with them. 

Ibn Abu Dawud reports in the work 1-MasaM that Ibn 7\bbas objected to the 
practice of taking a fee for writing the Qu'ran. He reports something similar from Ayyub 
'l-Sikhtiyanl, whilst from Ibn 'Urmar and Ibn Mas^ud he reports that they disliked the sale 
and purchase of the Qu'ran, and the taking of a fee for its writing. But he reports that 
Mujahid, Ibn 'l-Musayyib, and Hasan found the practice acceptable. He also reports that 
on being asked about selling copies of the Qur'an SaTd b. Jubair replied "It is 
acceptable, for they take compensation only for their efforts." He also reports that on 
being asked about trading in the Qur'an Ibn 'l-Hanafiyya replied: "It is acceptable for 
only sheaves of paper are being sold." He also quotes v Abd Allah b. Shaqlq as stating 
that the Companions of the Messenger of God were very strictly against trading in the 
Qur'an. He also quotes NakhaT as saying: "The Qu'ran is neither sold nor inherited." He 
also reports that (SaTd) b. 'I-Musayyib objected to trading in the Qur'an, and said: "Help 
your brother by providing him with the Book, or give him a copy" He also reports from 
'Aja' that Ibn 'Abbas said: "You may purchase a copy of the Book but not sell it" He 

reports that Mujahid too prohibited the sale of the Book but allowed its purchase. 

Three distinct views of the pious ancestors thus emerge of which the third 
regards its sale but not its purchase as objectionable. In our view this is the soundest 
opinion, one that is ratified in the work Sharh 1-Muhadhdhab and transposed in the work 
Zawa1d 1-Raudah, quoting ShaliT. RafPi said: "It has been said that the price paid is for 
the book itself, for the words of God cannot be sold. And it has also been said that the 
price is payment for the writing. These two views have been attributed to Ibn 'l-Hanafiya 
and Ibn Jubair. There is, in this regard, a third view that the (price paid) is 
reimbursement for both the aforementioned costs. Ibn Abu 'l-Dawud reports that Sha^bi 
said "It is acceptable to sell copies of the Qu'ran, for only the sheets of paper and the 
labor of writing are being paid for. 

The shaikh, 'lzz 'l-Din b. 'Abd 'l-Salarm said the following in the work 1-Qawaid: 
"To stand out of respect for the Qu'ran is an innovation that was not prescribed in the 
first generation." But the correct view in this regard is the statement of 'l-Nawawi in the 
work 1-Tibyan that it is indeed a commendable act, because it glorifies the Qu'ran and 
because it is thus, not subject to neglect. 

It is commendable to kiss the Qu'ran for 'Ikrima b. Abu Jahl (r) used to do so and 
because, as some have said, it is by analogy, not unlike the kissing of the Black Stone. 
Also, because it is a gift from God, kissing it is a meritorious act, much like the kissing of 
ayoung child. 

There are, in this regard three opinions recorded from Ahrmad (b. Hanbal): that he 
regarded it as permissible, as commendable, and that he suspended judgement. This 
because this practice, its merits notwithstanding is an act of worship, wherein the use of 
analogy is proscribed. This is why 'Urmar said with regard to the Black Stone: "Had I not 
seen the Prophet (s) kiss you I would not have kissed you!" 

Applying perfume to the Qur'an is commendable, as is perching it on a rack, 
whilst it is impermissible to rest on it, for this is insulting and disrespectful. Zarkashi 
said: "It is also disrespectful to stretch one's feet in its direction." Ibn Abu Dawud in his 

work 'l-Masahif reports that Sutyan disliked hanging the Qu'ran (on walls etc). He also 
reports 'l-Dahhak as having said: "Do not use a stand for the books of Hadlth as you do 
for the Qu'ran. 

It is, according to the most authentic opinion, permissible to show respect to the 
Qur'an by embellishing it with silver. Baihaqi reports that Walid b. Muslim said: "I asked 
Malik about embellishing the Qu'ran with silver, so he produced a copy of the Qu'ran for 
our benefit, and said: 'My father informed me from my grandfather that when the Qu'ran 
was compiled in the era of 'Uthman they embellished the copies in the same manner. 
As for its embellishemnt with gold, it is, according to the most authentic view, 
permissible for a female, but not a rmale. Some restrict this permissibility to the Book 
itself , and not to its cover, but it would seerm that they are both permissible. 

If there is need to suspend some pages of the Qu'ran because they have become 
moist for instance then in the view of 'l-Hulaimi doing so in some crevice is unlawful, 
because they may fall and be trampled upon. Because of the disrespect that would be 
shown to the written text, it is also not permisible to shred its pages, and thus cause its 
letters and words to be detached from each other. Hulaimi also said it is permissible to 
wash them with water while burning them is not objectionable, for 'Uthman reduced 
those copies of the Quf an havign abrogated verses to the fire and no one objected to it. 
Others however, have stated that burning them is better than washing for in the latter 
case some of it would undoubtedly drop on the ground. The judge, Husain, in his notes, 
has stated emphatically that burning is unlawful becuase it is disrespectful, but Nawawi 
regards it as rmerely objectionable. The works of some Hanafite scholars declares that if 
the Qu'ran becomes wet it should not be burned, but buried instead. This view is 
questionable, because it may cause the Qu'ran to be trampled upon. 

Ibn Abu Dawiid reports from (Sa^id) b. 'I-Musayyib as saying: "It is not 
permissible for you to say musaihif musaijid (the diminutive forms of the words mushaf 
and musjid) for that which belongs to God is indeed majestic. 

Our ruling and that of the majority of shcolars is that it is not permissible for 

those big or small, who are ritually impure, to touch the Qu'ran. This is so because of 
the statement of the Almighty: "None except the pure are permitted to touch it." (56:79) 
A tradition of the Prophet (s), reported by Tirmidhl states: "The Qu'ran must be touched 
by none other than one who is pure." 

Ibn Maja and others report from Anas a marfiT tradition stating: "Seven acts will 
confer on the servant of God rewards even while he is interred in his grave: one who 
imparts knowledge, one who digs a canal, one who digs a well, one who plants date 
palms, one who builds a musjid, one who leaves a child who seeks his pardon after he 
has died, and one who begueths a copy of the Qu'ran. 

Section Sixty Four 
The Miracles of the Qur'an 

Many scholars have dedicated special works to this topic, among them: 'I- 
Rummani, 'l-Zamlakani, 'l-lmam 'l-Razi, Ibn Suraqa, the judge Abu Bakr 'l-Baqillani, and 
Ibn 'l-7\rabi. And nothing comparable to the latter's work has been compiled. 

Know that a miracle is detined as any act that contradicts the laws of nature, is 
the result of some challenge, and is free of contradiction. A miracle is either perceptible 
or rational. Because of their stupidity and their lack of insight most miracles produced 
for the benefit of the Children of Israel were perceptible to the senses. And because of 
their substantial intelligence, and their mature intellect, most of the miracles of this 
community have been rational. Furthermore, given the longevity of the sharf ah, and the 
fact that it will endure till the Day of Resurrection, it was the rational miracle that was 
chosen as its accompaniment. Bukhari reports the Prophet (s) as saying in this regard: 
"Every one of the prophets was given that which induces faith in human beings. I was 
given revelation which God had revealed to me. I am optimistic that I will have the most 
followers of them all." 

It has been suggested that this means that the miracles of the prophets 
terminated with the termination of their tenures; thus only those present at the time were 
witness to them. But the miracle of the Qur'an will endure till the Day of Resurrection. It 
is its style, its rhetoric, and its supply of information pertaining to the unseen that defies 
convention; in every epoch some of this information emerges and thus validates its 

This may also mean however, that past, manifest, miracles were all perceptible 
and perceived by the eye. This includes the miracle of the she camel of Saleh, and the 
staff of Moses. The miracle of the Qur'an however, is perceived with insight, which is 
why its followers are more plentiful. Also, that which is perceived with the organs of 
perception disappears when the perception itself ends, whilst that which is perceived by 
the intellect endures, and is observed uninterruptedly by those who succeed the initial 
observers. group. 

The tollowing appears in the work Fath 1-Barr. "Reconciling these two views is 
possible because their goals are not contradictory." And the intelligentsia are 
unanimous that the Book of God is a miracle, whose challenge no person was able to 
rmeet. The Almighty says: "wa in ahad min 'l-mushrikln istajaraka fa ajirhu hatta yasma^a 
kalarm Allah" ^B) lf not for the fact that listening to the Qur'an was a prerequisite it may 
count against them their fate would not have been made contingent on such listening. 
Also, the Qur'an was not a miracle it would not have been used as argument against 
them. ???? 

lr 'And if some polytheist seeks your protection then grant him such protection, so 
that he may be able to listen to the Word of God." 

The Almighty says: "wa qalu laula 'unzila alaihi ayat min rabbihl; qul innama 'l-ayat 
'inda Allah wa innarma ana nadhlr mubln; a wa lam yaktihim anna anzalna 'alaika 'l-kitab 
yutla 'alaihim." 2 (29:50-51) He gives notice that the Book is among His signs, providing 
ample evidence, substituting for the miracles of others besides him, and a sign of the 
miracles given to the other prophets. The Prophet (s) brought this to them at a time 
when they were the most articulate of communities, the most eloquent of orators, and 
he challenged them to bring the likes of it. They however, were unable to do so, even 
after several long years of grace. Thus, the Almighty says: "falya'tu bi hadlth mithlihu in 
kanu sadiqln" 3 (10:38) And in the verse: "am yaquluna iftarahu; qul fa'tu bi 'ashar suwar 
mithlihl; murtarayat wa 'ud^u man istata^tum min dun Allah in kuntum sadiqln; fa in lam 
yastajlbu lakum fa1amu annarma 'unzila bi 'ilrm Allah" 4 (11:13-14) He challenged them to 
produce ten chapters like unto it. And in the verse: "am yaqulun iftarahu; qul fa'tu bi surat 
mithlihi" (10:38) 5 He then challenged them to produce a single chapter. The challenge is 
then repeated in the verse: "wa in kuntum fi raib min ma nazzalna 'ala 'abdina fa'tu bi 
siirat mithlihi" 6 (2:23) When, despite their legions of orators and rhetoricians, they failed 
to meet the challenge, or to produce a single comparable chapter, they were called 
upon to confess their own inability and the inimitability of the Qur'an. It thus says: "qul 
la'in ijtama^at 'l-ins wa 'l-jinn 'ala an ya'tu bi mithli hadha 'l-Qur'an la ya'tuna bi mithlihl; 

2 "They said: "lf only a sign from his Lord was sent to him! Say: "All signs are form 
God, and I am no more than a manifest warner. Does it not suffice them that We send 
to you the Book which you recite unto them!" 

3 "Let them bring a discourse like unto it, if they are truthful." 

4 "Or do they say that he fabricated it! Say: "Bring then, ten forged chapters like it, 
and seek help from whomsoever you want to besides God, if it is that you are truthful. If 
they respond not, then know that it was indeed revealed with God's knowledge." 

5 "Or do they say that he fabricated it! Say: "Bring then a single chapter like it." 

6 "And if you are in doubt about that which We revealed to Our servant, then bring 
forth a single chapter like it." 

wa lau kana ba'duhum li ba'd zahlra" 7 (17:88) These were the eloquent antagonists, 
much desirous of putting out his light, and subverting his message. Had they been up to 
the challenge they would certainly have tocused their energies on clinching this 
argument. But no reports exist of any one contemplating or taking up this task. Instead, 
they were belligerent at times, and demeaning at others. On occasion they called it 
magic, at others, poetry, and at others still, ancient tables. This was all the result of their 
perplexity and their disorientation. Ultimately, they settled for the judgement of the 
sword on their necks, the enslavement of their progeny and their spouses, and the 
confiscation of their property. All of this, and to a proud and chauvinistic people, who 
would surely have hastened to respond if they felt capable of doing so; this would 
certainly have been a lot easier on them. Hakirm reports from Ibn 'Abbas: "'l-Walid b. 'I- 
Mughlra approached the Prophet (s) who then recited parts of the Qur'an to him, which 
caused him to soften somewhat. This reached Abu Jahl, who went to him and said: "O 
Uncle! Your people would like to collect money to give to you, so that you may shun 
what Muhammad presented to you." He replied: "Quraysh knows that I am of its 
wealthiest!" He said: "Then say something about him indicating to your people your 
aversion of him." He said: "What shall I say! By God! None of you knows as much 
poetry as I do, as much poetic rmeter, as many odes, and the poetry of the invisible 
beings. By God! "His words do not, in the least, resemble any of this. By God! That 
which he speaks has a certain sweetness, a certain elegance, its top section is fruit 
bearing, its lower section is substantial, it surpasses and is not surpassed, and it 
shatters everything under it. He said: "Your people will not be satisfied until you say 
something about him." He said: "Let me think this over." After doing so, he said: "This is 
harmful magic which he acquires from some other source." 

Jahiz has said: "God had commissioned Muhammad (s) at a time when no one 
was more advanced in poetry and oratory than the Arabs; theirs was a language most 
insightful, and a vocabulary, most substantial. He invited both great and small to the 

7 "Say: "if all human beings and all invisible beings joined forces to bring forth 
something similar to this Qur'an they would not bring the likes of it; not even if they 
supported each other." 

oneness of God and to the affirmation of his commission as messenger. He invited 
them with such arguments that eventually disposed of all excuses, and removed all 
doubts. It was their chauvinism and their caprice that impeded their acknowledgment, 
and not their perplexity or ignorance. He then made them realize their fate by way of the 
sword: he declared war on them and they did the same. He killed their prominent 
members, their notables, their uncles, their cousins, all the while arguing against them 
by way of the Qur'an, and inviting them night and day to contradict him by producing a 
single chapter or a few verses, if indeed he was a liar. 

The greater his challenge, the greater his censure of their inability, the more their 
inadequacies which had been concealed, began emerging. And when they ran out of 
excuses and arguments they said to him: "You know events of past communities which 
we do not, and you are thus able to produce things which we cannot." He then said: 
"Then make up some thing!" But no orator took on that task, nor did any poet incline to 
it. Had he so inclined it would surely have been feigned, and as such this would have 
ben patently evident. And if this becarme evident then he would have encountered those 
who nonetheless, approve of , protect, and try to deceive, and who assert that such as 
person had indeed, provided prosody, and had confronted and contradicted the Qur'an. 

This would then indicate to an intelligent person the helplessness of these 
people, notwithstanding the breadth of their language, its sweetness , their facility over it, 
their numerous poets, many of whom had lampooned him, challenged the poets in his 
company, and the orators of his community. One single chapter or a just a few verses 
from them would have effectively nullified his assertions, undermined his mandate, and 
it would have clearly falsified him, quickly separated him from his followers without 
much effort. It would also have exiled him and stopped all financial assistance. 

This was indeed, a significant measure hardly unknown even to those 
considerably less accomplished than Quraish and the Arabs in thinking and intelligence. 
They on the other hand, were purveyors of unusual odes, wonderful poetic meters, long 
eloquent orations, and pithy anecdotes, and they were adept at formulating words that 
rhymed, were muzdauj!M, or were prosaic. 

And after exposing the inability of those nearby he went on to challenge those far 

atield. It is thus incomprehensible that all these persons would have tallen folly to 
something as self evident as this. That these people, who were most haughty, and 
boastful, for whom discourse was the preeminent pursuit, failed in their moment of 
need--that need which itself spawns stratagems for inscrutable situations~how could it 
not have done the same in the case of something as obvious as this! It is also 
incomprehensible that they could have shut their eyes to, or abandoned a falsity that 
was of immense utility to them, for twenty three years; it is incomprehensible that those 
who had knowledge of this genre, and who had the means to deal with it, that they 
would not have taken up this challenge!" 

Now that it is established that the Qur'an is indeed a miracle of the Prophet (s) it 
is incumbent that we turn attention to the actual areas of its inimitability. People have 
explored this a great deal , some appropriately, others wrongly. One group asserted that 
the challenge was inherent in the eternal language, an attribute of the godhead, that the 
Arabs were thus encumbered with that which was beyond their capabilities, and that this 
is what incapacitated them. This is to be rejected because that which cannot be 
determined cannot be considered a challenge. The truth is in the statement of the 
majority who say: "It inheres in that which alludes to the Eternal, in the words as such." 

'I-Nazzarm claimed that the miracle was in the act of distraction: God distracted 
the Arabs from taking up the challenge and stripped them of their intelligence. They 
certainly had the ability to rmeet the challenge, but as with all other miracles, extraneous 
factors prevented them from doing so." This view is unsound because the verse: "qul 
la 'in ijtama^at 'l-ins wa 'l-jinn" 8 (17:88) points to their failure notwithstanding their ability. 
If ability was retracted their collaboration would have been futile, and akin to the 
collaboration of the dead. The failure of the dead is no cause for celebration! 
Furthermore, seeing that it is the Qur'an that is unanimously considered a miracle, how 
could such a claim stand, given that this would infer that there is nothing miraculous 
about it? In fact, that would then have to be God's miracle seeing that is was He who 

"Say even if all humans and all jinns collaborated. . .' 

took away the power to produce something comparable to the Qur'an. Also, the 
'distraction' argument would render the miracle time bound, and thus, inactive after the 
period of the challenge. It would strip the Qur'an of the element of the miraculous, and 
destroy the unanimity of the community that the greatest miracle of the Prophet (s) is 
everlasting, and that no other miracle apart from the Qur'an is similarly everlasting. 

Abu Bakr, the judge, said: "Also nullitying the 'distraction' argument is the fact 
that if the challenge would have been met if not for the distraction, then the Word of God 
could not be considered a miracle. Rather, it becomes so because of hindrance. Thus 
the Word in and of itself would enjoy no special status over other works". He said: "This 
is no more surprising than the view of some among them that any one is able to 
produce something similar; they were slow to take up the challenge because they had 
no knowledge of its arrangement. Had they been equipped with the said knowledge 
they would certainly have met the challenge. This is also no more surprising than the 
view of some others who maintain that: 'The inability afflicted them alone; as for those 
who follow, they do have this ability to produce something similar." None of this is worth 
considering seriously. 

One group stated: "It is miraculous in that it prophecies the future, and this was 
outside the capabilities of the Arabs." Another group stated: "It refers to all the 
information it incorporates pertaining to the legends of all past and future communities, 
as reported by those contemporaries who witnessed it." 

Another group stated: "It refers to the information it incorporates pertaining to the 
state of their minds, which was not manifested through their words or their deeds. It thus 
says: "idh hammat ta'ifatan minkum an tafshala" 9 (3:122), and: "wa yaquluna fi anfusihim 
lau la yu^adhdhibuna Allah" 10 (58:8) 

Abu Bakr, the judge stated: "It is miraculous because of its arrangement, 
composition, and structure, and because it is unlike all the conventional speech patterns 
of the Arabs, and different from their forms of address. He said: "It is for this reason that 

". . .when two groups among you had almost lost heart." 
10 "And they said to themselves: 'Why does God not punish us!" 


they were unable to take up its challenge." He said: "There is no way of recognizing the 
inimitability of the Qur'an through the various styles of metaphor that they inserted into 
poetry, because the latter was not extraordinary. Rather, it is to be recognized through 
knowledge, experience, and through compositions such as poetry readings, oratory, 
prose writing, and proficiency in rhetoric. These are all paths well trodden, whereas the 
arrangement of the Qur'an is without precedence, and without a master who may be 
followed. Thus there is unanimity that it is without parallel." He said: "We believe that in 
parts of the Qur'an the inimitability is more obvious, whereas in other parts it is obscure 
and subtle." 

The Irmarm Fakhr 'l-Dln has said: "It is inimitable because of its eloquence, its 
unique style, and because it is free of error." And 'l-Zamlakanl has said: "Its inimitability 
can be traced to particular sections thereof rather than to the Book as a whole. Its word 
structures for instance, are in perfect harmony with their corresponding scales, and the 
meaning of its phraseology is unsurpassed, such that every linguistic category is 
unsurpassed in the case of every single word and phrase. 

Ibn 'Atiyya said: "The correct opinion with regard to inimitability, as held by most 
scholars and the intelligentsia, is that it is to be found in its arrangement, its correct 
meanings, and its eloquent sequence of words. Just as God encompasses everything 
with His knowledge, so too, does He encompasses all discourses with His speech. 
Thus, no sooner is a word of the Qur'an coined than God knows, by way of His 
omniscience, the appropriate word that must follow and the appropriate meaning that 
must be added. This is the case for everything from the beginning to the end of the 
Qur'an. Human beings however, are generally ignorant, forgetful, and distracted, and it 
is thus, self evident, that no human being can encompass all of the foregoing. This is 
how the style of the Qur'an attained the pinnacle of linguistic purity. 

This also puts to rest the view of those who say: "The Arabs certainly did have 
the potential to respond in kind, but were distracted therefrom." The truth is that no one 
had this potential, in the least.Thus, do you find that an eloquent person would spend an 
entire year polishing a poem or an oration, during which he would carefully scrutinize it 
and make the necessary changes, whereas if even a single word from the Book of God 


were to be removed it would not be substituted by something better, even after a close 
scrutiny of if the entire Arabic language. As for us, much of its brilliance is obvious to us, 
but in some places it remains obscure, and this is because we have less literary taste, 
and less excellence in improvising than the Arabs of that era. 

Thus, have the Arabs, the masters of eloquence and the only worthy adversaries, 
provided proof against the entire world, just as the magicians had done with the 
miracles of Moses, and the physicians with that of Jesus. God does indeed, produce the 
miracles of the prophets in the most acclaimed pattern during their respective eras. 
Thus magic had reached its pinnacle of advancement during the era of Moses, 
medicine during the era of Jesus, and eloquence during the era of Muhammad (s). 

Hazim had this to say in the work Minhaj 1-Bulagha'"The inimitability of the 
Qur'an resides in the fact that clarity and eloquence in all their forms suffuse every part 
of it, without any disjuncture. Nor can any human being match it. As for the speech of 
the Arabs and of those others who spoke their language, eloquence and clarity were not 
consistent throughout even the loftiest of such speech, except in the case of a handful 
of examples. Thereafter, this human speech was subject to human weakness, which 
caused the discontinuance of the beauty and the splendor of the language. The 
eloquence was not suffused in all of it, but was to be found in bits and pieces of it.' 

And 'l-Marakishl had this to say in the work Sharh 1-Misbak "The inimitability of 
the Qur'an is known through a scrutiny of the science of rhetoric. It has been defined by 
one group as the instrument whereby mistakes, and incoherence are avoided during 
the delivery of meaning. It is by way of this discipline as well, that the modalities of 
eloquent speech are known, when such modalities are applied scrupulously to disparate 
situations." This is because inimitability lies not in vocabulary alone, for in such a case 
the miraculous would have been present even before revelation. Nor does it lie in 
composition, for then all compositions would have been miraculous, nor in its use of 
grammar, for then, all speech that uses grammar correctly, would have been 
miraculous, nor yet in its style, for then, even elementary poetry could be construed as 
being miraculous. If the word usiub referred to just any style then even the drivel of 
Musailima would be considered a miracle. Also, inimitability occurs without style as well, 

as is the case with the verses: "fa larmrma istay'asu minhu khalasu najiyyan" n (12:80) 
and: "fa isda' bi ma tumar" 12 (15:94) 

The Qur'an's inimitability does also not lie in their distraction from meeting the 
challenge, because they were in fact enthralled by its eloquence, and because the likes 
of Musailimah, Ibn 'l-Muqaffa\ '1-Ma'arrl and others did indeed engage the Qur'an, but 
were nonetheless unsuccessful in producing anything substantial, only that which the 
ears would reject, and from which human nature would recoil. Their attempts at 
duplicating its patterns of composition would have been scoffed at, patterns as had 
incapacitated the rhetoricians and muted the articulate. 

There is general evidence of its inimitability in the fact that the Arabs, whose 
language this was, were unable to rmeet the challenge, and so those besides would be 
even less likely to succeed. More specifically, a careful scrutiny of its unique 
composition, would show up the fact that it has been revealed by the One whose 
knowledge encompasses everything. 

n "And after having despaired of him they conferred in private." 
12 "Proclaim openly as you have been directed." 


In his exegesis 'l-lsfahani said: "Know that the inimitability of the Qur'an has been 
discussed in two ways: firstly, as an intrinsic inimitability, and secondly, by way of 
distracting people from taking up the challenge. The first is concerned either with its 
eloquence, its rhetorical devices, or its sense. As for eloquence, and rhetorical devices, 
this type of inimitability is not related to its substance, which comprises of words and 
meanings. Its words are after all, their words, as the Almighty has said: "Qur'anan 
'arabiyyan" 13 (12:2) and "bi lisanin 7\rabiyyin" 14 (26:195) Nor is it related to meaning,, 
because much of it exists in previous scriptures, as the Almighty has said: "wa innahu la 
fi zubur 'l-awwalin" 15 (26:196) As for the miracle of the transcendental knowledge 
contained in the Qur'an, of the knowledge pertaining to the dawn of creation and the 
resurrection, and of matters pertaining to the unseen, this is not exclusive to the Qur'an 
as such. What is exclusive is the fact that all of it came from nowhere and is thus, 
without precedent. Tidings about the unseen are just that: tidings, regardless of whether 
they are arranged one way or another, appear in Arabic or in any other language, are 
explicitly mentioned, or are simply alluded to. Thus the specific composition is the form 
of the Qur'an whilst the words and the meanings are its essence. It is a change in form 
and not in essence, that changes the status of an object as well as its denotation. Take, 
for example, the ring, the earring, or the bracelet: it is a change in their forms which 
causes a change in their names, and not a change in their essence, which may be gold, 
silver , or iron. A ring made of gold, silver or iron is still called a ring, even though their 
essences differ. A ring, earring or a bracelet made of gold will be named differently 
based on their varying forms, even though their essences are the same." 

He said: "It thus emerges from this that the inimitability specific to the Qur'an is 
related to a particular composition. That this particular composition is inimitable must be 
explained through reference to compositions as such, and then to the fact that the 

13 ". . .an Arabic Qur'an" 
14 "ln the Arabic language" 


And it is indeed, in the scriptures of former communities." 


composition on hand, is indeed, unique. 

The composition of speech occurs at five levels: 

1. Where individual letters are arranged side by side with each other such that they 
form any one of three kinds of words: the noun, the verb and the particle. 

2. Where words are arranged side by side with each other such that they form 
useful sentences, of the kind that people generally use in their conversations, 
and in fulfilling their needs. This is also called prose. 

3. Where such words are arranged side by side such that they act as openings and 
pauses, and additions and omissions. All of this is terrmed "arranged" (1-manzum) 

4. Where the endings of the foregoing structures are rhymed, and this is called 
"rhymed prose" (1-musajja). 

5. Where allowances are made in such structures for scale and rmeter, and this is 
called poetry (1-shrr). 

That which is arranged is either in dialog form in which case it is referred to as an 
oration, or in written form, in which case it is referred to as a treatise (1-risala) 

Communication is thus limited to the foregoing forms, each having a specific 
format, whilst the Qur'an encompasses the best of all formats, but in a way that is 
unique to it. This is attested to by the fact that it whilst it too, is a form of speech, it may 
however, not be referred to as a treatise, poetry, or as rhymed prose. When an 
articulate person hears this he is able to distinguish between it and all other forms. It is 
for this reason that the Almighty has said: "wa innahu la kitab 'aziz; la ya'tihi 'l-batilmin 
min baini yadaihi wa la min khalfihi" 16 (41:41-42). This is to announce that its 
composition does not conform to the conventions of human beings, such that it may be 
added to or subtracted from, as is the case with all other books." 

He said: "As for the miracle of distracting people from taking up the challenge, 
this too is clear upon reflection. Every creative activity, both praiseworthy and 
blameworthy, is in some subtle and affective manner, related to a community. A person 

16 "lt is a impose scripture. Falsehood comes not near it from the front or from 


preterring one vocation over another, does so with his heart intimately attached thereto, 
and his energies pressed into serving its calling, and he accepts such an assignment 
with an open heart, and devotes himselt wholeheartedly to it. When God invited the 
rhetoricians, and the orators who tlitted in the valley of meanings through their elocution, 
to contront the Qur'an's challenge, and when He incapacitated them, and caused them 
to fail to rmeet the challenge, all intelligent people at the time knew that this was due to 
some divinely decreed distraction. What miracle could be greater than where all the 
rhetoricians were outwardly incapable of taking up the challenge, and inwardly 
distracted from doing so. 

'L-Sakaki had this to say in the work 1-Miftak "Know that the inimitability of the 
Qur'an may be perceived but it will not be described, just as the right weight is perceived 
without being described. This is similar to perceiving the right amount of salt, or the right 
voice for a particular song. In addition, this inimitability is recognized only by those with 
the correct aptitude, or those steeped in the knowledge of and experienced in 
eloquence and rhetoric." 

Abu Hayyan 'l-Tauhldi has said: "Bundar 'l-Farisi was asked of the place of 
inimitability in the Qur'an, and he replied: 'This is a question which imposes an injustice 
on the meaning, and is tantamount to your saying: 'How does one man determine the 
existence of another?" No man determines any other. Rather, when reference is made 
to him in his entirety then he is identified, and his essence is made manifest. The same 
is true for the Qur'an: as a token of its loftiness nothing referred to in it is not in and of 
itself also a sign, a miracle in comparison to things around it, and a guidance to one 
who utters it. Fully comprehending God's purpose through His speech, and His secrets 
through His Books is beyond human capacity, and it is this which perplexes the mind, 
and beguiles the senses. 

'I-Kha^abl has said: 'Whilst most theoreticians are of the opinion that the element 
of inimitability in the Qur'an pertains to rhetoric, illustrating this was problematic for 
them, and they therefore reduced this to individual predilections." He said: "Close 
scrutiny suggests that speech appears in many forms, each of which varies depending 
on the level of discourse. There is the eloquent, composed, and pure style, the formal, 


unusual and moderate style, and the adequate, uninhibited, and relaxed style. These 
then are the preterred, and praiseworthy forms of communicating: the first is the best of 
them, the second is average, and the third is the lowest and the most accessible of 
them. The rhetoric of the Qur'an includes parts of all three these forms, and takes a 
portion from each of them. The arrangement of these three forms has fashioned the 
kind of discourse that brings together the qualities of courtliness and charm, which when 
separated, are by description like opposites. Charm after all, does result from a relaxed 
style, whilst purity and succinctness are used to mediate various forms of harshness. 
The convergence of these two forms in its arrangement, notwithstanding their 
incompatibility, is a quality specific 
to the Qur'an. It serves as a manifest sign of His Messenger (s). 

Human beings however, face difficulties composing something comparable, and 
for many reasons. 
These include: 

1-Their knowledge does not encompass all nouns of the Arabic language and their 
conventions; these two elements encapsulate meaning. Their comprehension does not 
encompass the entirety of the objects to which such names refer. Nor does their 
knowledge fully comprehend all circumstances that warrant their composition, or their 
coming together. They are thus unable to compose something similar by choosing the 
best from that which is good. To establish speech the following three things are 
required: a preexisting word; a meaning upon which the word is based, and a common 
denominator regulating the two. Careful examination would suggest that the Qur'an is in 
this regard, most prestigious and highly esteemed, so much so, that nothing compares 
to the purity, clarity, and sweetness of its words, nor to the integrity of its composition, 
and nothing more appropriate or even equal exists. As for meaning, every intelligent 
person will testify to its superiority in this area, and to it being of unsurpassed standards. 
These three qualities are to be found separately in a variety of communications, but 
they do not appear together, as part of a single composition, except in the utterances of 
the Omniscient, the Omnipotent. From this then emerges the fact that the Qur'an is 
indeed inimitable, coming as it does, with the choicest of words, in the finest 


composition that incorporates the best meanings. These pertain to God Almighty's 
oneness, His lottiness in His attributes, a summons to His obedience, the manner in 
which He ought to be worshiped, a description of things lawtul, things unlawtul, things 
prohibited, and things permissible, advice and corrections, an enjoinment of that which 
is good and a prohibition of that which is evil, and an exhortation to emulate the best 
forms of character, and to avoid bad behavior. Each of these things has been placed in 
its appropriate location such nothing better or even equal to can be visualized by the 
intellect. In place are the parables of past centuries and of the examples that God made 
of those among them who were obstinate. It admonishes future generations with 
arguments and justifications, and with proofs for and against. All of this is meant to add 
emphasis to his call, and to apprize them of the significance of that which he 
commands, and that which he forbids. 

Producing and compiling such disparate material in an organized and 
harmonious fashion is beyond the strength and ability of human beings. People have 
thus failed to rmeet this challenge by replicating it, or to confront it on the level of 
structure. Critics were therefore left claiming that it had to be poetry, because it was 
versified, or magic because it had the ability to incapacitate. It made a huge impression 
on them, smiting their consciences, frightening them and perplexing, so much so that 
they failed to control the urge to acknowledge, and to say: "It does indeed have a 
sweetness, and it does indeed have an elegance!" At one point, out of ignorance, they 
went so far as to say: "asapr 'l-awwalin; iktatabaha fahiya turmla 'alaihi bukratan wa 
asllan" 17 (25:5) This they uttered knowing full well that its recipient was himself 
unlettered, with no one close by capable of dictating or writing down material of this 
nature, that provokes such animosity, ignorance, and incapacity." 

He then said: "I have also spoken of an aspect of inimitability that people have 
overlooked, which is its effects on the heart and its impact on the conscience. Apart 
from the Qur'an no other speech, in poetic or prose form, reaches the ears and sends 

17 "Ancient folklore! He writes them down, as they are dictated to him, morning 
and afternoon." 


to the heart, both sweetness and beauty on some occasions, and fear and awe on 
other occasions. God Almighty says: "lau anzalna hadha 'l-Qur'an 'ala jabal la ra'aitahu 
khashPan mutasaddPan min khashyat Allah" 18 (59:21) and: "Allah nazzala ahsana 'I- 
hadith kitaban mutashabihan mathaniya taqsha'irru minhu julud alladhlna yakhshauna 
rabbahum" 19 (39:23) 

Ibn Suraqa has said: "Scholars differ as to the reasons why the Qur'an is 
inimitable, and they have mentioned, in this regard, several such reasons, all of which 
are sound and correct. But together, these reasons still don't add up to even one tenths 
of one thousandths of its inimitability. Whilst one group has ascribed this to its brevity 
and lucidity, another has done so to its elucidation and its eloquence, and another still, 
to its integrity and its arrangement. Some have said that it is because it is outside the 
scope of Arab discourse which comprises of verse, prose, oratory, and poetry. This, 
despite its usage of letters from their language, meanings common to their addresses, 
and words that belong to their mode of communications. It nonetheless, in essence, 
belongs to a genre of discourse different from theirs, and to an altogether unique 
category separate from theirs. So much so that one who tries to preserve its meaning 
whilst changing its vocabulary will take away its radiance, and one who tries to preserve 
its vocabulary whilst changing its meaning will destroy its purpose. All of this then, is a 
manifest testimony to its inimitability. 

One scholar has said: "It lies in the fact that no matter how often it is recited its 
reader never tires of it and its listener never wearies of it". Another has said: "It lies in its 
narration of past events." Another has said: "It lies in its contents pertaining to the 
unseen, and its definitive pronouncements on other matters." One scholar has said: "It 
is because it encompasses the kinds of knowledge that require exhaustive 
commentaries, but which are still not entirely comprehended." 

18 "Had We revealed this Book on to a mountain then you would surely have seen 
it fearful, splitting apart in awe of God." 

19 "lt is God who frequently sends down the best of discourses as a divine writ, in 
repetitive pairs, and which causes the skin of those who hold Him in awe to shiver. . ." 


'L-Zarkashi had this to say in the work 1-Burhan: "Experts are of the opinion that 
it is inimitable for all the foregoing reasons, and not for any single one of them as such. 
It encompasses all of this, and there is therefore no point ascribing inimitability to just 
one category. In fact there are others that have not been mentioned. These include: 
a-lt fills the ears and the hearts of its listeners with awe, those who endorse it as well as 
those who deny it. 

b-lt is forever fresh and original to the ears of the listeners and the tongues of the 

c-lt combines opposing qualities such as purity with sweetness which are usually not 
combined in human discourse. 

d- It was made the last of the scriptures , and thus independent of all other scriptures, 
whilst the previous scriptures are dependent on it for clarification. Thus, the Almighty 
says: "inna hadha 'l-Qur'an yaqussu 'ala bani lsra'il akthara alladhi hum fihi yakhtalifun" 
20 (27: 76) 

And 'l-Rummani says: "The inimitability of the Qur'an is manifested by the fact 
that despite a huge number of claimants and a dire need to respond, the challenge was 
not taken up. It is also manifested in its ability to address all and sundry, its allure, its 
eloquence, its foretelling the future, its breaking of habits, and the fact that it has been 
compared to all other miracles." He said: "This breaking of habits (naqd 1-^adat) refers 
to the fact that there was already in place an abiding tradition of language, including 
poetry, rhyme, oratory, letters, and the kind of prose that is common to human 
discourse. The Qur'an then introduced a unique style, quite unlike that tradition, and 
with a level of beauty that surpassed all others patterns of speech, and with a diction 
that was the best." He said: "As for its "comparison to other miracles", the miracle here 
is in the fact that the parting of the sea, the transformation of the string to a snake, and 
other such miracles are but a single manifestation of inimitability. They contradict 
natural law and prevent humanity from taking up the challenge. 

20 "This Qur'an does indeed, relate to the Children of Israel parables about which 
they mostly dispute." 


Qadi 'lyad had this to say in the work 1-Shifa l . "Know that the Qur'an comprises of 
multiple forms of inimitability, which may be summarized in the following four forms: 

I. Its excellent composition, its appropriate word usage, its eloquence, its multiple 
forms of brevity, its extraordinary rhetoric, unheard of among the Arabs who 
themselves were doyens of the language, and masters of this science. 

II. Its unusual arrangement, and peculiar style that was out of keeping with the 
literary style of the Arabs. Also unique was the poetic and prosaic structure with 
which it carme, upon which are based its verse endings, and the rhymes of its 
vocabulary. Nothing comparable existed before and after it. He said: "Each one 
of its forms-brevity, rhetoric, and a peculiar style-are distinct categories of 
inimitability none of which the Arabs were able to match. These were beyond 
their capabilities, distinct from their type of eloquence and linguistic style. This is 
in contrast to those who hold that its inimitability lies in the totality of its rhetoric 
and its style. 

III. The reports it contained, the fact pertaining to the unseen, and the prophecies 
that eventually came to be. 

IV. The information it provides with regard to past events, previous communities, and 
bygone legal systems, of which nothing was known except for scattered reports 
from the People of the Book. Entire lifetimes were spent studying these reports, 
whereas the Prophet (s), who was unlettered and thus unable to read or write, 
was able to reproduce them, as is, and in accordance with the material evidence 
that existed. 

He said: "These then are the clear, incontrovertible aspects of its inimitability. And the 
following are examples that fa.ll outside this category. 

1-Verses revealed to incapacitate a community with regard to some matter, and to 
inform them that they will never be able to perform. Consequently, they are in fact 
incapacitated, and unable to act in this regard. The Jews for instance, are told: "fa 
tamannau 'l-maut in kuntum sadigln; wa lan yatamannauh abadan" 21 (2:94-95) 

21 Yearn for death, if you are indeed truthful. But they will never yearn for death." 


Consequently, no one among them ever yearned for death. This genre is incorporated 
into the third category. 

2-The terror that fills the heart of its listeners, and the awe that seizes its readers. On 
listening to one such verse, a group did in fact, come to believe, just as did Jubair b. 
Muf irm when he heard the Prophet (s) recite the chapter 1-Ttir. He said: "When he 
reached the verse: "am khuliqu min ghair shay'in am hum 'l-khaliqun. . .'l-musaitirun" 
22 (52:35-37) My spirits began to soar! He said: "This was the moment when Islarm first 
took hold of my heart." One group actually succumbed to death on hearing its verses. 
They were subjects for publication. Then he said: "Another element of its inimitability is 
that it is an eternal sign to be preserved by God Himself. 

3-lts reciter is not made weary by it, and its listener is not dismissive of it. If anything, its 
pursuit intensifies its sweetness, whilst its repeated recitations increase devotion to it. 
Other literature, when repeated, tends to cause discomfort and boredom. Thus, the 
Prophet (s) described the Qur'an as: "That which does not degenerate because of 
constant application." 

4-lt encompasses, quite succinctly, and with an economy of words, the kind of 
knowledge and information not found in any other book, nor comprehended by any 
individual. He said: "This is included in the category on rhetoric, and should therefore, 
not be counted as a separate category of inimitability. The previous categories however, 
are singled out, not for their inimitability as such, but for their uniqueness and their 
special attributes. The essence of its inimitability is to be found in the previous four 
categories, which should therefore serve as the frame of reference." 

22 "Were they created without a cause, or did they create themselves. . .in 


1. Opinions differ as to the extent to which inimitability exists in the Qur'an: whilst 
some Mif tazilites hold that it suffuses the entire Qur'an, the two foregoing verses 
disproves their clairms. The Judge (Abu 'lyadh) has said: "Inimitability is always 
linked to chapters, both the short ones as well as the long ones." In this regard 
he depends on the words of the verse: "bi siirat" 23 On another occasion he has 
said: "It is attached to a chapter or the equivalent of a chapter, such that 
variations of its rhetorical power are manifest. He said: "lf it is a single verse then 
its words would be equivalent to a chapter, at least equal to the length of 7- 
Kauthar. Only then is it inimitable." He said: "No evidence exists of their failure to 
produce less than this length." One group maintains that multiple verses are 
required to pose a challenge, and that a single verse will not suffice. Another 
group is of the opinion that the following verse supports the view that inimitability 
applies to both small and large parts of the Qur'an: "fa lya'tu bi hadith mithlihi; in 
kanu sadiqin" 24 (52:34). The Judge responded: "The verse proffers no such proof, 
because the sense of a complete discourse cannot be communicated in less 
than a single short chapter." 

2. Opinions differ as to the whether the inimitability of the Qur'an is self evident. The 
Judge said: "Abu 'l-Hasan 'l-'Ashfari maintains that knowledge of its appearance 
to the Prophet (s) is considered self evident, whereas the actual inimitability is 
inferred. I am of the opinion that a non Arab, as well as one not familiar with 
rhetorical language, is not likely to know its inimitability except through inference. 
As for one familiar with rhetoric, with the multifarious linguistic traditions of the 
Arabs and with peculiar constructions, both his own incapability as well as that of 
those around him would be self evident to him." 

3. Whilst agreeing that the Qur'an expresses the highest forms of rhetoric they differ 
as to whether it is uniformly eloguent. Thus, would there exist verbal structures 

23 ". . .by way of a single chapter." 

24 "Let the produce then, a single discourse like unto it, if it be that they are 


more suitable and symmetrical for the transmission of some given meaning? 
The Judge disagrees, and maintains that each of its words represents the apex 
of meaning, even though some may be more perceptive of this than others. Abu 
Nasr 'l-Qushairi prefers the view that it does indeed vary. He thus says: "We 
make no clairms that everything in the Qur'an is of the purest eloquence. Others 
have also said the Qur'an comprises of material that is both eloquent as well as 
most eloquent. The scholar "\tl 'l-Din b. 'Abd 'l-Salarm has inclined to his view, 
and posed this question: "Why is the Qur'an not most eloquent in its entirety? 
The master, Mauhub 'l-Jazari furnished a reply which in essence states that the 
Qur'an, structured in this way, would have contradicted the conventional speech 
patterns of the Arabs which combines both eloquent and most eloquent 
discourse. The challenge as such would have remained incomplete. Thus, it 
followed their speech patterns so that their inability to rmeet its challenge could be 
manifest. And this then precluded them from countering: "You produce that over 
which we essentially lack ability! This is tantamount to a seeing person saying to 
the blind: I have overcome you by way of my sight. The blind one will simply 
respond: "Your victory would be complete only if I too was able to see, and your 
sight was stronger than mine! But seeing that I am totally deprived of sight, how 
is it possible to take up the challenge! 
4. It is said that absolving the Qur'an of metered poetry, despite its superiority over 
unmetered poetry lies in the fact that the Qur'an is the fountainhead of verity, and 
the epicenter of truthfulness. The poet in contrast, exerts all effort construing 
falsehood as truth, hyperbole as praise, exaggerated rebuke and offense, without 
revealing the truth and affirming sincerity. God therefore, has absolved His 
Apostle of this. And because poetry is notoriously false the author of the work 1- 
Burhan has designated analogies that frequently lead to falsehood and 
fabrications as poetry. One sage has thus said: "No pious, truthful person has 
been known to have been adept in poetry. As for the metered verses of the 
Qur'an, the explanation for them is that such material is not called poetry. This is 
because intent is a requirement for composing poetry. If such material is 


considered poetry then all such speech as happens to be metered should also be 
regarded as poetry, in which case all people would be poets. Hardly any speech 
is without such material, which in their case, appeared on the tongues of the 
articulate as well. And given their obsession with criticizing the Qur'an, if such 
material was considered poetry, they would surely have hastened to oppose and 
criticize it. In reality, such material emerges when language reaches the pinnacle 
of harmony. It has also been said that a single verse, or something similar in 
rmeter, is not considered poetry, for the latter requires at least two verses or 
more. Another view is that material composed in the rajaz form is in the first 
place, not called poetry. Another view is that to be considered poetry the ray'az 
form requires at least four stanzas, and this in no way appears in the Qur'an. 
One scholar has said: "The challenge was put to human beings and not to the 
jinns, because the latter were not members of the Arabic speaking community 
whose form the Qur'an emulated. As for the verse of the Qur'an: "qul la 'in 
ijtama^at 'l-ins wa 1-jinn" 25 (17:88) it is couched in such terms to exalt its 
inimitability, because language encompassing groups is imbued with a potency 
not found in language restricted to individuals. If both species are considered part 
of this challenge, and if their failure is to be expected notwithstanding their 
collaboration, then the failure of a single group is all the more likely. Another 
scholar has said: "It was put to they/nns, and the angels are intended as well, 
because they too are incapable of producing the likes of the Qur'an. In his work 
Gharalb 1-Tafslr 'l-Kirmanl has said: "Only human beings and they/nn are 
mentioned in the verse because the Prophet (s) had been dispatched to these 
two groups and not to the angels. 

25 "Say: lf all human beings and all jinns. . ." 


6. Ghazzali was asked about the verse: "wa lau kana min v ind ghair Allah la wajadu 
fihi ikhtilatan kathiran" 26 (4:82) He replied: "Inconsistency (1-ikhtilaf) is a word 
encompassing several meanings. In this case differences in people's opinions is 
not what is being denied, but rather, differences inherent in the Qur'an itself. 
When some statement is said to be contradictory, then the reference may be to 
the fact that it is not uniformly eloquent, or that it makes contradictory claims. 
Thus some of its sections may stress elements of the sacred whilst some others 
may stress elements of the secular. Or it may comprise of conflicting styles: 
sections thereof may be poetic, or lackluster, or pursuing a particular purity of 
style, or something totally different. God's speech is absolved of such 
contradictions because it follows a single format in its arrangement, one that is 
uniform from start to finish, and uniformly eloquent. It does not comprise of 
language that is good, as well as bad, and in addition, it tracks of inviting 
creatures to turn to God Almighty, and to turn attention away from the secular 
and towards the sacred. Human discourse is indeed open to such conflicts. Thus 
if the language of the poets and prose writers is evaluated it will show 
contradictions in arrangement, in degrees of eloquence, if not in the art of 
eloquence itself. It will thus comprise of language that is both good and bad, and 
no two letters or poems will be equal. A single poem will comprise of stanzas that 
are both eloquent as well as fatuous. The qaslda genre, and poetry will also 
reflect the same inconsistencies, all because poets and the literati have a 
tendency to roam confusedly through all kinds of valleys. On occasion they laud 
this world, whilst on others, they remain scornful of it. On occasion they laud 
cowardice as exemplifying discretion, and on others they revile it as weakness. 
On occasion they praise courage and call it rigor, and on others, they revile it and 
call it rashness. Human language is never free of such contradictions because it 
is driven by competing objectives and purposes. And the human condition itself 

26 "lf it had come from anyone other than God then they would have found many 
inconsistencies therein." 


varies: eloquence complements its moments of joy and happiness, and 
encumbers its moments of strife. And so too do his objectives change: at times 
he is inclined to one thing, and at others, to some other thing. This therefore 
causes changes in his language. That some human being therefore, could speak 
for twenty three years, the period in which the Qur'an was revealed, with such 
consistency, is no fluke. The Prophet (s) was a human being himself who lived 
through changing circumstances, and if this had been his speech, or that of any 
other human being, then one would certainly have found therein many 

The Judge has said: "To the question: "Do you also maintain that the other words 
of God, like the Torah and the Gospels, are also inimitable? we say: There is 
nothing inimitable therein with regard to arrangement and structure, although, 
they too, like the Qur'an, are inimitable in terms of their contents that deal with 
the Unseen and with past events. It is not considered inimitable because God did 
not describe them as He had did the Qur'an, and because we know that it was 
not presented in the way of a challenge, as is the case with the Qur'an. 
Furthermore, these languages are devoid of those elements of eloquence that 
lend themselves to a challenge. In the work 1-Khapriyat Ibn Jinni said that in the 
verse: "qalu ya Musa! irmrma an tulqiya wa irmrma an nakuna nahnu 'l-mulqln" 
27 (20:65) the words wa immaan nulqiya were not used for two reasons. The first 
pertains to word usage, and more particularly, to its coupling with the opening 
words of the verse. The second pertains to meaning, and to the fact that the 
Almighty wanted to convey the passion of the magicians and the arrogance they 
showed towards Moses. He thus ascribes to them words that fully and 
comprehensively ascribes these acts to them. He then poses this question: "We 
know that the magicians did not speak the (Arabic) language. Should we then, 
hold them to the same linguistic standards!" He replies: "All narratives in the 
Qur'an pertaining to past people who were not native speakers have been 

27 "They said: 'O Moses! Either you throw first, or we will be the first to throw." 


Arabized; the words used are not literally theirs. No doubt, 'the eloquence found 
in the verse: "qalu in hadhani la sahirani yuridani an yukhrijakum min ardikum bi 
sihrihima wa yadhhaba bi tarlqatikum 'l-muthla" 28 (20:63) did not exist in the 
language of the non Arabs. 

28 "They said: "These two are but magicians bent on evicting you from your lands 
by way of their magic, and destroying your well trodden path! 


8. At the beginning of his work Anwar 1-TahsH tiAsrar 1-Tanzil 'l-Barizi said: "Know 
that a single idea may be conveyed using words of varying eloquence. In the 
same way, two parts of any one statement may be dissimilar in that the one part 
may express a level of lucidity not warranted by the other part. In all such cases 
having a sense of the multiple meanings of such statements or of the most 
appropriate vocabulary is essential, together with a sense of their applicability in 
any given context. In the case of human beings this, for the most part, is difficult 
to achieve, but in the case of God, it is immediately forthcoming. This is what 
makes the Quran the best and the most eloquent of speeches, even though it too 
comprises of material of varying quality, both the good and the excellent, the 
emphatic and the profound. There are examples of this, such as the verse: "wa 
jana 'l-jannatain dan" 29 (55:54) In this case if the words wa thamar 1-jannatain 
qarlb were used instead, it would not have sufficed because of the assonance 
between the words y-yana and 1-jannatain. Also, the word thamar does not allude 
to the fact that the fruit had ripened. Finally, the endings would not then have 
been dissimilar. Another example is the verse: "wa rma kunta tatlu min qablihi min 
kitab" 30 (29:48) where tatlu\s more appropriate than taqrau because the hamza 
in the latter impedes pronunciation. Another example is the verse: "la raiba fihi" 
(2:2) where raiba is more appropriate than lashakka flhi because the contraction 
of the kaf impedes pronunciation. This is also why raiba is used more often. 
Another example is the verse: "wa la tahinu" 31 (3:139) where tahinu\s preferred 
for it is more easily pronounced than tadufu In the case of the verse: wahana 'I- 
'azm rminni" (19:4) the word wahana more appropriate than daufa because 
pronouncing the a consonant is easier than the u. Another example is the verse: 

29 "The fruit of both these gardens will be close at hand." 
30 "You were never able to recite scripture previously. . ." 
31 Be not fainthearted" 


"armana" 32 (2:62) which is more easily pronounced than saddaqa. This is also 
why the tormer appears more frequently than the latter. Other examples are: 
"atharaka Allah" 33 (12:91) where atharaka is more easily pronounced than 
taddalaka; the verse: "wa ata" 34 (2:177) where ata is more easily pronounced than 
afa\ the verse: "andhara" 35 (46:21) where andhara is more easily pronounced 
than khawwata; the verse: "khair lakuma" 36 (2:184) where the latter is more 
easily pronounced than atdala lakum; the verse: "hadha khalq Allah" 37 (31:11) and 
the verse: "yu'minun bi 'l-ghaib" 38 (2:3) where the infinitives khalqar\d ghaib are 
more easily pronounced than makhluq and ghalb respectively; the verse: 
"tankihu" 39 (2:230) where tankihu is more easily pronounced than tatazawwaju, 
and this is because words on the scale tafilu are more easily pronounced than 
those on the scale tatataallu. This is also why the word nikah is more commonly 
used." In the interests of brevity and ease in pronunciation words such as: 1- 
rahmat, 1-ghadab, 1-rida, 1-hubb, and 1-maqt, are attributed to God even though 
such attributes do not apply to Him in reality. If the appropriate attributes were 
used instead then the verses would have becorme lengthy. A statement could, for 
example, then appear as: yu amiluhu mu amalat 1-muhibb wa 1-maqit 40 
Figurative speech, because of its brevity and ease in pronunciation, is preferred 

32 He believed" 

33 "God has preferred you" 

34 'And he gives. . ." 

35 "He warns. . ." 

36 "ls better for you" 

37 'This is the creation of God." 

38 "They believe in the Unsesn." 

39 "marry. . ." 

40 "He treats him like a lover or a hater." 


to the literal in such cases. Furthermore, such speech is based on the highest 
form of rhetoric, as in the case of the verse: "fa larmrma asafuna intaqamna 
minhum" 41 (43:55) This is preferable to statements such as: fa lamma^ amiluha 
mu^amalat 1-maghdab or fa lamma atau ilainabimayatlhi 1-maghdab. 

41 "SO when they angered Us We took revenge. . ." 


'L-Rummanl has said: "That the short chapters may well have contradictions, is 
said to be inconceivable, because the challenge applied to them as well. The 
tollowing verse: "Fa'tu bi surat" 42 (10:38) shows their incapacity, and it makes no 
distinction between short and long chapters. It may also be said that the 
interstices of the short chapters may be altered, such that one word may be 
substituted for another. Would that therefore, be considered a contradiction? No, 
because one who is not a poet, and who has no faculty to distinguish between 
that which is rhythmically balanced and that which is not, may nonetheless, still 
be able to compose lines of poetry. If such a person who is not a poet opts to 
amend the following lines: wa qatim 1-a^ma~q khawi 1-mukhtariq; mushtabih 1- 
aiam lamma 1-khafaq; bi kull wafd 1-rlh min haith inkharaq, by substituting 'I- 
mumazziq for 'l-mukhtariq, 'l-shafaq for 'l-khafaq, injalaq for inkharaq, he may 
well do so. But that would not render him a poet, because even a novice knows 
that no such substitution is conceivable in these lines. The same is true for one 
who changes the interstices. 

42 "Produce then, a single chapter."